I’m an enthusiastic observer of trends; it’s a prerequisite for my profession. Earlier this month at a luncheon for Preston Manning, Canada’s former federal opposition leader, my trend radar picked up a signal. Eco-etiquette.
Although I can’t take credit for coining this expression, the proverbial light bulb went off during Mr. Manning’s speech. Frequently hailed as a visionary, he spoke about the environment and the effectiveness of regulations and legislation. His message was clear — we as individuals must become more accountable and not rely on government rulings to do the right thing. “Protecting the environment is a relationship between the land and its people,” he said, quoting a student protégé.
No doubt about it, eco-etiquette is evolving. We need new ideas to navigate our way through this uncharted territory. We faced similar dilemmas — but admittedly different circumstances — as we learned to accommodate technology — voice mail messaging, emails and twittering, for example.
Eco-etiquette has been around for a while — the Chilean sea bass boycott comes to mind. This was quite the cause célèbre involving North America’s top chefs, who agreed as a group to stop offering this delicious, best selling fish despite its profit-centre status. Fears of over fishing and illegal catches prompted a call to arms amongst chefdom’s usually competitive ranks and Patagonian toothfish (the actual name before its re-branding as Chilean sea bass) was wiped off menus from coast to coast — without any legislation.
Currently, eco-etiquette has gourmands agonizing over the sustainability of bluefin tuna. No government regulations exist so it’s up to us as consumers to make the call. Although it’s rarely available at the local fishmonger’s — we must decide to order or not to order when a high-profile restaurant offers bluefin.
Here in Ontario, where I live, the provincial government recently ruled that all shoppers would be charged a five-cent fee for every plastic bag. Whether shopping at the mall or farmers’ market, buying a pair of socks or a basket of apples — five cents is automatically added to the total for every bag taken. The goal is to reduce the amount of plastic in garbage landfills and since the law went into effect this past June, retailers have reported dramatic decreases in bag usage. This is eco-etiquette in full swing — it’s not the five-cent cost that’s prompted everyone to bring along cloth carrier bags, it’s the sense of doing the right thing.
What’s on your mind when it comes to eco-etiquette? We’d love to hear from you.
Join me for my free, 55 minute teleseminar on Style for Women where I will share tips on how to:
– Engage comfortably in discussions
– Project an effective and professional image through the barrier of electronic communication devices?
– Top tips on how to dress for the job you want NOT the job you have and much more!
Tuesday, Oct 13, 2009, 5:30pm Pacific, 7:30pm Central and 8:30pm Eastern
Subscribe to our FREE monthly newsletter