Consumer Reports News discusses a study aimed at determining the shape of the "green" movement's image problem:
Those asked said that going green is too expensive, too niche and only for "crunchy granola hippies or rich elite snobs."
The study was conducted by OgilvyEarth, an advertising firm dedicated to "mainstreaming green". Within, they offered an interpretation of the results:
Then there’s the guilt. "Green is a major mood kill," said the study. "People told us they feel guilty about everything from their flat screen TV to their Sunday paper to their Christmas tree," said OgilvyEarth. "Flooded with guilt, they want to retreat to the comfort of ignorance."
Way to fight the image of elitism and snobbery, guys.
Seriously, I love the idea of living sustainably. I love fixing things rather than replacing them, and would produce all my own food and get all my energy from solar panels if I could. But I'm not gonna wear your damned hair shirt. Whether or not they want to admit it, a substantial portion of the public face of the green movement is just a bunch of tyrannical, busybody puritans who've traded in their Bibles for Birkenstocks. It's a new way to self-flagellate while controlling and feeling superior to the insufficiently-pious heathens who KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO. There's a lot of overlap between my values and the green movement's values, but their attitude and politics make me want to run over a baby seal with a humvee. These folks aren't the majority of greenies, but the majority of greenies allow them to set the tone of the conversation.
Want to mainstream green? Marginalize the kind of people who put smug bumper stickers on their Prii and organize combative Critical Mass rides, and for God's sake, stop trying to use the law to force people to do things your way. Is it really all that shocking that people respond badly to evangelizing, guilt, and coercion as marketing tactics?