Grist for the Mill: The Source for Eco-Centric RenGen

Cultural consumers who make up the RenGen don’t take their cues from advertising. They support their purchase decisions with information drawn from the culture: community, life experiences, the Web.

That explains the power of, a site for the eco-friendly that has grown its audience to nearly 1 million “Gristies” per month, who use it to answer questions about which products are the “most green” and the safest for their families. This week, the feature on “back to school” offered advice on products that range from pencils to laptop computers.

The New York Times describes the phenomenon of saying it “Resonates with the left-leaning people in their 30s who were the first generation to take environmental studies for granted as a part of a college curriculum.”

This group is entering a period of prime consumption. They are “forming families (or choosing not to), buying cars (or choosing not to) and having babies (or choosing not to).”

So, when I get asked if the eco-friendly bent of the cultural consumers will tire, my response is always the same–not any time soon. Even the most traditional marketers will tell you, it will take at least 12 years for consumers in the child-bearing years to move on from having to buy kid-friendly vehicles, school supplies and family-style groceries. In about 12 years we can expect to be in full environmental collapse. That is if we haven’t addressed the crisis with new behaviors and tough-minded policies. More, not less, attention will have to be paid to environmentally sound products.

Photos courtesy of Kozy Shack at Flickr