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Good column in Advertising Age by Jennifer Maxwell-muir in which she suggests that a kind of “green fatigue” is sweeping the nation, as people find that the surfeit of information, options, hype and fear about the future of the planet is making them almost paralyzed about making choices and exhausted from trying to examine all the information at hand.

And, she writes: “There also is growing uncertainty about the effectiveness of personal actions, despite the truest of intentions. People are so bombarded by ‘helpful’ advice that they're becoming consumed with anxiety over making the right decision. Local or organic? Carpool or green tags? Bath or shower? The choices are endless. And just when you think you're making the right one, such as using Nalgene as refillable water bottles, you find out that's not right either. Now you've got another thing to worry about: BPA.”

And so, Maxwell-muir suggests steps for how to avoid “eco-fatigue,” which include:

• “Be remarkable,” and make sure your green product solves a specific and significant consumer problem while working or tasting better than anything else in the market.

• “Be green because it is something you value, not as a marketing gimmick.”

• “Make it fun and engaging,” because boring green products often end up being just boring product failures. There’s no reason, she suggests, that a green product can't be “well-designed, smell beautiful and work well.” And if it can’t…well, then maybe the product shouldn’t exist.

• “Partner with an established nonprofit,” because such alliances can create something bigger than just a green product; it can tap into a movement and make consumers part of the solution.

And, Maxwell-muir writes, it is important to move beyond green: “Green is a fad. Sustainability is continual improvement. If you're only looking at energy consumption, you're just scratching the tip of the iceberg. Businesses that endorse a ‘triple-bottom-line’ approach -- Organic Valley Farms, New Belgium and Clif Bar, to name a few – also address their affect on society in their communities. Environment is the third leg of the stool, but without the other two, you wouldn't have a place to sit.”

KC's View:
Boy, does she have this right. Excellent piece, excellent conclusions.