Definitions for being green: you a treehugger, a hippy, a Bright Green?

Over on The Really Good Life today, I’ve asked a question:

I’m not self-sufficient, so what I am?

I’m asking how people who grow their own food, making their own stuff, cook their meals etc define themselves — I might be alone on the issue but I don’t like calling myself “self-sufficient” because I’m not and I never will be, so it seems wrong & naive to call myself that. So I’m asking what other people in a similar situation call themselves or how they define their lifestyles.

I think there is similar terminology issue in the green sphere too – how do you define your green activities/lifestyle?

I see a lot of people taking back what were formerly insults: people calling themselves treehuggers, or crunchy, or “green freak”, “a greenie” or “dirty hippy” (all three phrases I’ve used to describe myself in the past week).

Aside from the general catch-all “environmenalist”, more serious/official labels stem from the idea of Bright Green, Light Green or Dark Green environmentalists – Bright Greens believe the way forward is through better designs for living, new technology & social innovation largely within the current political & economic society. For Light Greens, environmentalism is a largely a lifestyle choice and Dark Greens want to overthrow wasteful capitalism & hug the world until it stops crying.

What term(s) do you use/prefer when talking about yourself and your lifestyle? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

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4 Responses to “Definitions for being green: you a treehugger, a hippy, a Bright Green?”

  1. carol says:

    I consider it a compliment if some one calls me a hippy, but that is not how they mean it. I try to be self sufficent, and I am the best recycler, but I still have to drive to a job. It is hard in the Mid West to live like I did in Northern California!!

  2. Pet says:

    To explain people why I make choices they don’t make, I often say, as some kind of apology, that I am “quite an environmental freak”.
    If you don’t make it a bit weaker, than it is, they immediately are going to defend themselves and I don’t like that discussion. I had too many of these argues .
    I will always suggest green solutions if I can, but for the rest, if they let me, I let them live their life.
    But only the fact that we don’t have a car, can make people think that I disapprove that they have one. The same for other “green” issues.

    • louisa says:

      Yes, I’ve experienced that too – some people automatically take it as a judgement and/or start defending themselves (possibly because they already feel guilty about things). Perhaps that’s why I often use self-mocking terms – to deflect that…

  3. Given my Beardy Longhairediness, I always use hippy and say it with a smile to try and break down any awkwardness. I don’t really like labels at all but it is our nature to define everythings place, I do it myself, and using something someone is familiar with regardless of it’s connotations tends to help instigate conversation, rather than use some new term that people can’t relate to that can make you seem a little aloof.

    Some of our practices are strange enough to most people without anything else jumping in!

    I long for the day when I can say I am Self Sufficient, although I prefer Self Reliant, just a matter of getting there. If anyone really asks and wants to get into the subject, I will say I care and leave it at that.

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