Brainfood: Words-Worth - Green

These days, most businesses profess to be 'green', meaning 'conscious of the environment'. Old English green symbolises jealousy. To be green is to be fresh and youthful, but also immature, gullible and naive. The environmental sense came from German left-wing politics, starting with Grune Aktion Zukunft (Green Action for the Future) in 1969. At the same time in Canada, some young draft-dodgers, hippies and radicals started a group to oppose the Vietnam War and nuclear testing. They wanted to call it the Green Panthers, but someone came up with the slogan 'Make it a green peace' and they used that instead. In 1985, the Ecology Party in Britain decided its name was too 'middle-class' and opted for the Green Party. Three years later, the first Green Consumer Guide was published.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Where there were consumers, producers and retailers had to follow. The expression 'green business' was first heard in the early '90s. The arrival of the biodegradable Tesco bag took a little longer.

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