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Greening the Red, White, and BlueThe Bomb, Big Business, and Consumer Resistance in Postwar America$
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Thomas Jundt

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199791200

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199791200.001.0001

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Green Consumerism Goes Mainstream

Green Consumerism Goes Mainstream

(p.217) 8 Green Consumerism Goes Mainstream
Greening the Red, White, and Blue

Thomas Jundt

Oxford University Press

Although Earth Day ushered in the strongest environmental laws in US history, in the end lax enforcement meant the environment continued to suffer. As environmentalists had been doing since the late 1940s, citizens increasingly turned to their actions as consumers in an attempt to assert agency. The largest and most lasting effect of Earth Day was its institutional mainstreaming of green consumerism. Environmental consumer groups, including C.A.N. and Concern, Inc., emerged, along with a large variety of advertising and products designed to appeal to the demands of the growing number of green consumers. By the time of Earth Day 1990 it was clear that the most popular practice of environmentalism was green consumerism. Citizens struggled to differentiate between products that truly left a smaller environmental footprint and faux green products promoted by corporate “greenwashing” as the green marketplace itself became big business.

Keywords:   Green consumerism, Earth Day 1990, greenwashing, globalization

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