When Pop Culture Is Okay

Hopefully most of you have abandoned the stereotype of an environmentalist being a “dirty hippie” or a “tree hugger” or someone who disobeys  cultural norms and the expectations of society. As breathtaking as nature is, the majority of the population lives in an urban setting, where living off of the land is literally impossible, and where we all must conform or at least integrate to some extent – even the environmentalists. It is definitely a struggle to find balance between what’s necessary for survival and what’s a luxury, because at the core of both is happiness. As humans we have to explore, interact, and learn. Travel, technology, art, food, science, music, careers – it all defines a society of individuals. The challenge is to indulge in these characteristics of “pop culture” without becoming consumed by the less healthy contributors of it.

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Photo Courtesy of SHFT

Who better to trust in defining this boundary and to lead the movement in a totally sustainable and popular culture than someone in the biz? I love putting the spotlight on those who use their stardom to send a positive message, and I’m happy to share yet another eco-celebrity who you can look up to. When he’s not biking around Brooklyn or standing in line at Whole Foods, you can find Adrian Grenier recruiting some of the brightest – and often youngest – pioneers in eco-conscious pop culture for his site SHFT. After producing “Alter Eco,” a brief TV series where attainable lifestyle makeovers were performed for those looking for a change, Grenier was inspired to expand this message to our current tec-savvy, instant gratification-seeking generation. The message: the shift into a sustainable lifestyle is not only easy, but possibly more glamorous and rewarding. Sacrifices shouldn’t be made when it comes to enjoying life, and there’s no limit to having fun, and doing so with a conscious. So SHFT was born, an online platform for everything relevent and everything eco-conscious. Grenier carefully curates videos, articles, and products that serve to inspire people from all walks of life to live more consciously and how to fully enjoy doing so.

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Photo Courtesy of Beauty and the Dirt

The most detrimental move in persuading someone to change their ways is to build a divide, to define what is “right” and “wrong,” what’s “good” and “bad,” and pit them on one side or the other. Guilt tripping is futile and will likely have reverse effects. But strategies like Grenier’s – showing the possibilities, benefits, and experiences that everyone hopes to be given –  are the most instrumental in creating widespread change.

Allison Beauregard

Allison is a New York City based writer with a focus on sustainability. Her work demonstrates how it is possible to have the “things” that make us happy without compromising the resources that provide these goods. With this vision, Allison sees a future where environmental degradation is reversed and the quality of human life is equally distributed. She is the Category Editor of The Franklin Report and was among the top 5 contributors for Elephant Journal in October 2014.

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