There's a great post on Practical Ethics on how being green might just make a person more selfish. This is not a new phenomenon, as it happens with world poverty as well. Is it a bad phenomenon? Savulescu suggests that it is because it distracts us from the problem. We think we're doing good, when recycling has only a minor effect on the environment. What we should really be doing is walking, biking, and taking public transit, rather than driving. But because we sort our trash, we feel as if we've done our part.
No doubt this is true... but I hesitate to call it a bad thing. We need positive reinforcement, otherwise we may not do anything at all. We need to incentivize people to become exemplars for others. Once we have done the some good, we should be encouraged to do more.