Sustainable Industries, in its 2009 predictions, hypothesizes that the practice of companies' "going green" is "going down." SI says this is in part because consumers will no longer accept a token bit of green -- some post-consumer content in product packaging, buying green energy -- as evidence of a long-term commitment to sustainability. And then there's the crappy economy.
That prediction may come true. The green wave that has been building for let's say, the past five years may have already crashed as marketing budgets are curtailed and conventional companies decide to stick to their knitting. However, there is the smaller but positive counter-trend - companies like IKEA - that were never in it for short term. These companies will continue to become greener because eco-efficiency and or social values are already deeply embedded in their cultures.
What companies do is important -- some will be positive change agents. They'll do green, but leaner, for awhile.
What is most important is that the green movement is re-born as a social rather than a commercial movement. We all must get involved, and learn to use the burgeoning power of social networks, and combine that with old-fashioned local activism.
People might get sick of the greenwash. But they will never get sick of clean water, clean air, and good, clean food. The good news is green really isn't a niche movement anymore -- it's starting to be what everyone wants -- as Modern Jackass said, "it's part of being an informed human."
Now that we've got the means to be informed, we need to act.
The Inauguration is over. Let's just pick up the trash, recycle it, and figure out what to do next. Get creative. Buy a carbon offset for someone you know (or someone you don't) that went to the festivities. Start your garden today. Make your own granola bars. Or all of the above. Or something else entirely. The old green may be dead. The new green is a green-for-all.
More from TreeHugger and Planet Green on green Inauguration and beyond
::Green Highlights of Obama Inaugural Address
::Five Ways Obama's Inauguration Festivities Will Be Green
::What Environmental Challenges Await President Obama?
::Official White House Policy on Energy & The Environment Spelled Out On New Website
::Barack Obama Faces Environmental Clean Up After Two Centuries of Bingeing: Bill McKibben
::CleanTechies Beats Out Non-Green Blogs for "Best Business Blog" Finalist