In a world facing extraordinary global challenges (climate change, credit crunch, etc.), many consumers are beginning to realize that they may need to adjust their lifestyles. John Grant in The Green Marketing Manifesto writes that for each individual person, there must be a reduction in the harmful use of resources by 66% (in the UK) and up to 85% in the US if we are going to conquer global climate change.

This is going to be a radical adjustment in the way we live… materialism in the West simply must be readjusted.

We all know that the all-stuff, everyday-stuff, gotta have every bit of stuff lifestyle doesn’t really make us all that happy anyway. “Materialism is toxic for happiness,” says University of Illinois psychologist Ed Diener.

In previous decades, marketers in leadership positions pushed for products that incrementally made our lifestyles a little more convenient. By making things more convenient (new & improved, shinier, faster) marketers believed that they were making everyone better off…and they were–for the most part. But, as much of the Western world has reached the point of “post-convenience,” could it be that consumers (and the planet) would be better off if companies worked harder at making products that help reduce carbon and simultaneously streamline lifestyles (in a trendy & cool way, of course)? What an amazing creative opportunity that lies ahead…as marketers, we have the chance to help innovate and create new products and services that help people reduce their carbon footprints & adjust their lifestyles to the new economic reality. We can then leverage our persuasive ad budgets to promote these new products in a way that fosters positive lifestyle change.

Not all marketers are on board with a “greener & more socially responsible” vision of the world…but the pressing issues of our time demand that marketing leaders stand up and push for change within their professional persuasion circles and within their organizations. We need a grassroots awakening. Armed with a global distribution platform (the internet) & one to many communication channels (blogs, podcasts, wikis, etc.) responsibly minded marketing change agents have the opportunity to drive the marketing community toward more active engagement. What stops responsibly minded marketers from driving the agenda of green product innovation and “lifestyle change” communication?

Recent surveys have shown that marketers continue to fall somewhere between politicians and car salesmen in terms of professional respect and trust. We should (and can) do much better. The marketing profession needs a new “raison d’être”. The choice to become more responsible is out in front of all of us…what will we do with all of our influence? Why not push your organization to give the world more meaningful products and communication in 2009?

Check out these meaningful marketing thought blogs:
Marketing with Meaning
Cause Marketing

I would love to hear what you guys are thinking, please send over a comment if you have a moment…