Its proponents tend to be particularly enthusiastic about green energy, hybrid automobiles, efficient manufacturing systems, bio and nanotechnologies, ubiquitous computing, dense urban settlements, closed loop materials cycles and sustainable product designs. "One-planet living" is a frequently heard buzz-phrase. They tend to focus extensively on the idea that through a combination of well-built communities, new technologies and sustainable living practices, quality of life can actually be improved even while ecological footprints shrink.
The term "bright green" has been used with increased frequency due to the promulgation of its ideas through the Internet and recent coverage in the traditional media.
"Light greens" see protecting the environment first and foremost as a personal responsibility. They fall in on the transformational activist end of the spectrum, but light greens do not emphasize environmentalism as a distinct political ideology, or even seek fundamental political reform. Instead they often focus on environmentalism as a lifestyle choice. The motto "Green is the new black" sums up this way of thinking, for many. Though many environmentalists of all stripes use "lite green" to describe products or practices they believe are greenwashing.
In contrast, "dark greens" believe that environmental problems are an inherent part of industrialized capitalism, and seek radical political change. Dark greens tend to believe that dominant political ideologies (sometimes referred to as industrialism) are corrupt and inevitably lead to consumerism, alienation from nature and resource depletion. Dark greens claim that this is caused by the emphasis on economic growth that exists within all existing ideologies, a tendency referred to as "growth mania". The dark green brand of environmentalism is associated with ideas of deep ecology, post-materialism, holism, the Gaia hypothesis of James Lovelock and the work of Fritjof Capra as well as support for a reduction in human numbers and/or a relinquishment of technology to reduce humanity's impact on the biosphere.
More recently, "bright greens" emerged as a group of environmentalists who believe that radical changes are needed in the economic and political operation of society in order to make it sustainable, but that better designs, new technologies and more widely distributed social innovations are the means to make those changes - and that society can neither shop nor protest its way to sustainability. As Ross Robertson writes, "[B]right green environmentalism is less about the problems and limitations we need to overcome than the “tools, models, and ideas” that already exist for overcoming them. It forgoes the bleakness of protest and dissent for the energizing confidence of constructive solutions.
There is a variety of opinion within bright green environmentalist thought. Many of the leading bright green environmentalist thinkers hold views that are under constant revision and development. Some distinctive currents of bright green environmentalism are identified and listed here:
The Viridian design movement is an aesthetic movement focused on bright green environmentalist concepts. The name was chosen to refer to a shade of green that does not quite look natural, indicating that the movement is about innovative design and technology, in contrast with the "leaf green" of traditional environmentalism. The movement ties together environmental design, techno-progressivism, and global citizenship. It was founded in 1998 by Bruce Sterling, a postcyberpunk science fiction author. Sterling remains the central figure in the movement to this day, with Alex Steffen perhaps the next best-known. Steffen and Jamais Cascio, along with some other frequent contributors to Sterling's Viridian notes, formed the Worldchanging blog.