I get frustrated with advice that amounts to don't drive/buy a hybrid car/convert to solar power/wrap yourself in sack cloth and live in a cave.It bugs me too that so much green advice seems to boil down to "spend a lot of money, buy all this 'green' stuff". 'Green' is not a lifestyle choice. It's not a sort of fashion that is only available to the rich. The greenest people on earth are the poorest. They don't cause as much pollution, carbon emissions etc as we do because they can't afford to. It's we in the affluent countries who are causing the problems. And the solution isn't to buy a lot of green junk, but to buy less junk.
"Save the planet - buy less junk" is a great message because it's cheap - cheaper than your present lifestyle. It's easy and achievable as long as you take it in babysteps. If you get rid of your car, your tumble drier and you try to only eat food you've grown yourself, all starting on the same day, you'll soon get overwhelmed and give it up. But if you make just one change, take time to get used to it, and then make another one, you should find it's all pretty effortless. That's the thinking behind the monthly Bean Sprouts challenges.
The only real problem with this message is that you have to break the addiction of retail therapy. We're constantly bombarded with adverts telling us we'll be happy, attractive, popular if we only buy their product. A lot of the ads are based on clever and subtle psychology and they work. It's very difficult to break the spell (one way is to avoid advertising, get rid of the TV and don't buy any magazines or newspapers, but even then you'll see ads on billboards, on the Internet, inside shops, and on people's clothes - that's what logos are after all). It's easy to end up feeling deprived and miserable because you can't buy all the things you're told you "need". But of course they don't deliver what they promise. The products don't really make you happier, more attractive, more popular etc. So people keep shopping in the search for happiness.
I think that's the main obstacle in the way of a green revolution - consumerism. The green movement can't afford an advertising budget to counteract the degree of brainwashing we've all been subjected to for years. And the adverts steal and subvert green messages into their own consumerist domain anyway. That's why now so many adverts tell you "Buy our green car, buy our green clothes, our green detergent, our green gizmo". How do you persuade people to stop buying stuff? I dunno. Bean Sprouts is just my little drop in the ocean showing that a non-consumerist lifestyle is possible, and isn't about wrapping yourself in sackcloth and living in a cave.