Right after I started this blog last month, I took a trip for my high school reunion back home to Alaska. You don't need me to tell you how Alaska is a place of resplendent beauty and abundant natural resources. When it comes to people, those two dynamics create a kind of economic and social "ecotone."
Like those places in nature where two ecosystems unite, that convergence of beauty and abundance produces some weird and wonderful species you can't find anywhere else on the globe. They're called "Alaskans."
Hippies and loggers, naturalists and commercial fishermen, Chevron and the Sierra Club, somehow living together and calling the place home.
In the few hours that I wasn't getting hammered with my fantastic classmates and friends, I managed to get into that wilderness (that's me in the Chugach Mountains near Anchorage) and to soak up some of what makes the culture of Alaska so unlike anything else.
Here's one example:
I saw this on the back window of some guy's pickup. I've since found it online at a hyper-conservative retail site hawking obnoxious anti-liberal t-shirts and bumper stickers. I also found it at a hyper-liberal site hawking obnoxious anti-conservative fare.
So which is it? Sarcastic pro-environmentalist or acidic pro-development? Either way, I love the shock value.
It brings up this point: for companies with eco-friendly products or services, sometimes it's appropriate to hammer the opposition -- I mean really go after them, as in pull-no-punches anti-tobacco ads.
Eco-friendly marketing has to date been, well, extremely friendly. Of course warm and fuzzy are important to bring laggards into the sustainability fold. But there will come a day when some will run aground with that tack. Now that green products and services are barreling into the mainstream market, companies that can find a little sass in their message will be companies that get remembered. Just as the producers of Al Gore's movie — or the designers of that sticker — can tell you.