As more Americans become aware of the environmental consequences of their actions and decisions, corporations have moved to profit off of rising environmental consciousness. However, instead of changing their practices to actually become environmentally conscious, many corporations often instead present a false front to make our society perceive them as green when they are not, an action commonly referred to as greenwashing. This allows them to gain advantage over their competitors, some of which might actually be sustainable, by taking advantage of consumers’ environmental consciousness. Despite legal action taken to stop this and federal laws putting restrictions on green advertising, greenwashing remains an issue. Greenwashing also occurs in organizations and groups who may engage in activities or hold beliefs that are contradictory to the ideology they claim to uphold. All of this leads to a undermining of the goals of the environmental movement and public skepticism of green claims.
One way to approach this issue is to look at the manipulation tactics used by these groups and companies to better understand and counter them. Looking just at greenwashing on its own, however, limits this approach. Therefore, while greenwashing and religious manipulation may seem unrelated, connecting the current literature on how they work could allow a deeper exploration on how we respond to manipulation and understand what makes us susceptible to it, both as individuals and as a culture. This will be done by examining the complexities of identity and group dynamics and how they can be manipulated to make individuals and groups overlook greenwashing and engage in doublethink, among other things. Looking at identity and group dynamics can also lead to deeper understanding on green groups that engage in actions contrary to their ideologies as well as the impact their actions have. All of this can allow for better understanding of the challenges facing the environmental movement, specifically in green consumerism, and how to counter them.
Wittmond, Miranda, "Green Religion: Manipulation Transcending Ideology" (2016). Pop Culture Intersections. 14.