Pazartesi, Ocak 10, 2011
Green = Guilt?
The main marketing strategy for selling green products has been to exploit the eco qualities of the products, rather than promoting their functionality or aesthetics. Some designers tend to oversee the functional and aesthetic aspects for the virtue of designing a green product. But doesn't that produce more trash?
It is true that guilt or being worried about the future well-being of his/her children may cause the consumer to behave in an ecologically responsible manner. (Moisander, 1997) However Debra Lilley, a research associate at Loughborough Design School, taking reference from the 2003 UNEP reports, states that guilt is not a sufficient motivator, and subsequently policy makers are beginning to realize the limitations inherent in this approach.
What green products offer to users should not only be a feeling of conscience or guilt. Regarding the mechanism of evoking emotions through products, Pieter Desmet proposes that if a product looks or performs in a way that corresponds with a concern of the user, a pleasant emotional response will be the result. We have to bear in mind that a big part of society does not carry a strong environmental concern to be emotionally engaged to use green products just because of their greenness. These products need to engage and connect with users through other qualities that converge with the primary concerns of users, in order to evoke pleasant emotions.
As a consumer, I want choices so I can find the product that best speaks to my taste. I should not be confined to buy that one product in a brown paper pulp packaging as my only choice, if I wish to make green choices. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with brown colored things or paper pulp. In fact, I like them both. But I want to make the point that there is a good selection of environmentally friendly materials available to designers to create their products -and not all of them are brown! A successful shift to green products will happen when the greenness -or the brownness in this case :)- of those products will not be the only quality that shouts at the conscious user.
As designers, we can challenge ourselves to create a variety of products catering to a wide range of tastes that are green; yet are beautiful and functional regardless of anything. I don't find it very ethical to put the consumer on a spot, where they need to make a selection between what they want to buy, and what they should buy. Designers can take the responsibility to refuse to create anything un-green, and make green the norm.
Moisander, J. (1997) Complexity and Multidimensionality of Ecologically Responsible Consumer Behaviour, part 1 of Linden, A L, Moisander, J. Thelander, Å. and Uusitalo, L. (1997) 'Environmental values attitudes and behaviour: Perspectives on Consumption as a Social Project', In: Consumption, Everyday Life and Sustainability Workshop, Centre for the Study of Environmental Change, Lancaster University.