What to do about annoying greenwashing bloggers?

I run into greenwashing bloggers from time to time. Usually they just irk me a bit. But the blogger I saw tonight took the whole freaking cake and really made me insane. In fact, unless I post about it, I’ll probably just sit around and vent on the inside, which yeah, isn’t healthy.

In any case I was messing around on Twitter and one of the suggested Tweeters for me to follow looked cool, seemed green and had plenty of followers, so I thought, hmmm, I’ll check her out. I go to her blog and it’s plastered with a big green image, an eco-friendly logo and the about section proclaims that the blogger in question is an “Eco-friendly mom” and her goal is to introduce you to the best family products for your family.

The blogger posted that she writes in-depth reviews of green products (which I love). So, I started browsing. Some of the products this blogger not only reviewed but promoted as excellent eco-friendly, family-friendly products included…

She also advocates chemical laden perfume and skincare along with Tide detergent, Lunchables, Oscar Mayer and many more products I wouldn’t even suggest to a non-eco family.

This blogger notes that she does accept compensation for reviews, so maybe that’s the problem. I didn’t see one bad review on the site, not one, although clearly most of the products reviewed could scarcely be called eco-friendly. The blogger does note that although she’s paid to write reviews she’s always honest. Frankly though, it would have made me feel better about her common sense at least if she had said, “Hey, I’m lying – I know this perfume is full of chemical crap.

Even worse:

She’s got the Blog with Integrity badge plastered on her page. This badge means you agree, in short, that as a blogger you’ll try to be honest and that you know that reader trust and blogging community trust matters. She’s lucky I’m not the Blog with Integrity police.

She’s making huge green claims on her blog – with words, with images and by telling readers that such and such products are eco-friendly and that they should buy them.

Worst of all…

This gal doesn’t only talk about non-green stuff. She’s got a few actual eco-posts up that shows she’s not a moron. It’s clear she knows the difference between eco and not-so-eco because she will discuss organics or cloth diapers at times and she points out their benefits. So why on earth showcase eco-baddies too? Most of the reader comments I saw showed that families are eating this stuff up. They want to try the stuff she’s suggesting. They want this stuff in their homes. They actually thank her for introducing them to a “Green product.”

It’s not cool to represent green in such a way that tricks anyone.

NOTE – I’m soooooo not perfect. Yes, I make green mistakes. AND I make them huge! Three years ago I actually called ALL of Pittsburgh out for not being green (I know dumb right) however, I did apologize. Plus, sometimes, no matter how much I research I just don’t have all the answers. All eco-folks I know make mistakes. I try to own my mistakes though. Plus, I would never, ever knowingly trick people or misrepresent eco-friendly living in such an obscene way.

My general point:

I don’t know. I’m just super mad and it’s late at night. Maybe I just needed a good rant to get the rage out of my system (which is working BTW). Maybe I’m a little upset at how easily people listen to whoever tells them to buy stuff. Maybe it’s an excellent lesson for me, in that I should keep on trying to be a better blogger myself and that I should promote good green bloggers on Twitter and Facebook more often to compensate for some of this lameness.

In fact, I’ll do that now. Here are some eco-bloggers you should be reading. Bloggers who no, aren’t likely perfect either, and sure, I sometimes disagree with them, but they also aren’t greenwashing away at their blog or trying to get people to buy chemicals.

I pulled these folks from my list of fave green reads – there’s plenty more to see.

What do you do when you see a greenwashing blog? Leave it alone? Say something (in a nice way) to the blogger? Freak? Rant like me? Let me know. I don’t usually say anything, although in this case I keep thinking I should.

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  1. says

    I recently started on the green journey a couple of months ago and I feel like I will never learn enough about being green and eco-friendly. I feel like I am still halfway between between green and not so green but I guess it’s baby steps here and there that get me there. At first when I was reading your post, I thought to myself maybe this blogger might be in the middle too, on her way. But then I see your point if she is giving her reviews on non-green products. It is definitely worth mentioning something in a respectful way so that she and others aren’t easily mislead. FYI. I will give all the permission in the world, if you ever check out my site and see something that strikes as non-eco or non-green, please let me know. Like I said, I am still learning and value that feedback.

  2. says

    Would love to know the blogger’s motivation. Maybe she’s just trying to make money and found this is the space she can write about and do that?

    I haven’t found this so much with bloggers, but when I come across a product where I question whether greenwashing is going on, I email them for more information. Actually, I send them to our review guidelines page which we of course, got from you!

    Very often, just reading that page opens their eyes.

    If this person (and others) is half way there and really doesn’t see what she’s doing, then offering her some ideas about a better direction might actually be enough to encourage her to change. On the other hand, if her motivation is simply to make money, nothing you or anyone will say will make a difference. But I don’t think it would hurt to check in with her, do you?

  3. Jennifer says

    I’m positive this gal is not a new blogger or new to eco-issues – she knew WAY too much about both blog style (i.e. what to say in her disclaimer, etc) and in her posts about green, she spouted off actual facts. Plus, she’s had this “green” blog going for about two years. She just didn’t strike me as a newbie at all – she struck me as a blogger who will write anything for $. Newbie blogs are one thing, but blatantly telling people incorrect facts to make a buck is super lame.

    In fact, I like new green bloggers. I was at a newbie green blogger’s site the other day, and read this post (http://loveeatgr33n.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/shoptilyouregreen/) and although I’m NOT a Walmart fan and some of the items she mentioned, I’d totally avoid, this girl’s heart is into it, and she’s clearly trying. Plus, she’s honest about how this is new to her. I actually left her a nice long comment, but it appears she’s since changed the post or didn’t approve my comment – Not sure?

    In any case, new to something is great because it shows people are trying. I was new once, most of my advanced green blogger pals were new once. I expect hiccups. I just don’t expect lies to families.

    PS – what you said, “I feel like I will never learn enough about being green and eco-friendly. I feel like I am still halfway between between green and not so green” – seriously I feel like this all the time, and I’ve been trying to go green for about ten years+ AND I’ve been writing professionally about green living for clients for over five years. So, it’s a LONG learning curve for everyone. Anyone who says differently is either super human or not being honest.

  4. Jennifer says

    Hmmm, didn’t see your comment Lynn. If she is in it just for the money, maybe nothing would work. But you could be right, checking in with her possibly couldn’t hurt – or might just make me madder!

    Like you, I send PR people/companies my review criteria, and low and behold some still act surprised when I tell them their non-certified organic shampoo scored low because they plastered “Organically herbal” or something like it, all over the bottle with nothing to back it up. I’ve had people get really mad at me about reviews – when I’m clearly very open about how I review. It makes me wonder if other bloggers go too easy on them, especially when they say, “Well so and so blogger loved us!” Sometimes I feel like it’s a losing battle. Man, could I be more whiny today!?

    I need a vacation :)

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