Sustainable Style

Receive a note last night from Susan Bartlett, President and Co-Founder of Pangaya, “an online retailer

launched in August 2004 with the goal of bringing

stylish, environmentally-friendly products to the

mainstream customer.” They’ve got some beautiful things for sale, but it also got me thinking about this notion of “sustainable style.” As I told Susan in my reply, I find the concept fairly radical: take the tastes of the mainstream consumer and “green” them. This creates the kind of “win-win” situation we read so much about in the literature of sustainability. At the same time, I would imagine that others find this idea a compromise with a consumer mentality that can hardly be described as sustainable. I think we need to look at small steps that move us consistantly forward, but I do know plenty of folks that I agree with on principle that see any compromise as negative. What do you think?

In the same vein, Newsweek has an article on the new generation of hybrid vehicles — not quite as fuel efficient (though certainly much better than the average gas-guzzler), but much stronger in terms of horsepower and “style.” Are these compromises inevitable and necessary, or a sacrifice of principle?

UPDATE: I even think this discussion at Gristmill ties in… Do those of us who value environmental protection have to “refashion” ourselves because the right has defined anything “enviro-” as necessarily “wacko?”

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