Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Do you guilt over "green"?

We've all been there.  A party, a meeting, around the watercooler, in the grocery line... SOMEONE is inevitably talking about how "green" they are, and how bunnies would magically ejaculate rainbows if everyone else would just be "green" too.

I don't know about ya'll, but the word "green" and all of it's connotations are starting to illicit a Pavlovian, Catholic-style guilt response in me.  (And trust me when I say it friends, I know what Catholic-style guilt is.  *kisses her grandmother's rosary and looks heavenward*  Love you, Gran.)

There is a virulent infection of one-upmanship spreading rapidly through the movement that has come to simply be known as "being green."  Similar to the viciousness that is gripping the social mothering community these days, this one-upmanship focuses not on the small improvements we're striving to make and instead glorifies the all side of the prevalent all-or-nothing attitude that so many have.  Those of us who are unable to re-purpose our vehicles into container gardens for growing our own organic vegetables and eat animal products that are anything but grass-fed and free-range are vilified, compared in certain extreme instances to Nazis in our "rampant and careless" destruction of the earth.

This illness is not only making us as adults doubt our validity and the impact our smaller positives are having, it is perpetuating the cycle of intolerance in our children.  Our desperate efforts to teach them from the beginning to reduce, reuse, recycle is being tainted with the mindset that anyone who cannot give it absolutely everything is somehow "bad".  OUR guilt that is being bred by this malignant attitude will inevitably roll off onto them, which will present yet another stumbling block towards high self-esteem by making them think that if THEY cannot be perfect in this aspect, THEY aren't as good as someone else, either.  EVERYTHING has an effect, and it's my personal opinion that when raising children to be happy and healthy, you need to minimize those self-esteem killing effects.

Now, I don't know about you, but I teach my kiddos that even a small piece of kindness is better than nothing.  I teach them that in ALL aspects of life.  Why can't we as adults wrap our brain around that same concept and apply it in this situation, too?

As a firm believer in the "One voice is all it takes" philosophy, I'm shouting tonight from atop my soapbox a very clear and unwavering "THANK YOU" to everyone else.

The family that is making a conscious effort to inform themselves about their household cleaners and start phasing out the worst?  Thank you!

The bachelor(ette) who orders take-away twice a week, and has suddenly stopped when they realized they were producing a full bag of trash a day?  Thank you!

Those who cannot afford organics but instead buy as locally and in season in possible? Thank you!

Those who choose small-farmed animal products instead of national producers?  Thank you!

Gardeners who take their neighbors' paper bags to use as mulch, People who repurpose and upcycle old clothing, those of us that buy and trade used books, even the people who do things so seemingly insignificant as turn the light off when they're done with the public bathroom:  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!

Our society has fallen into some very detrimental habits, there is no arguing that.  Brow-beating and guilt tactics are not the way to go to initiate ecological reform, though.  Instead of focusing on who has the most money and time to go 100% "green" as quickly as possible, let's look instead to those who are making efforts and achievements, and in turn setting new goals.

As they say, Rome wasn't built in a day.  A day isn't enough time to change the collective conscious for the better, either.

Next time you see someone doing something small, say "Thank You" out loud.  Let them know that SOMEONE acknowledges the effort they've made, no matter how tiny.  More "Thank Yous" and less "How dare you?s" could very well be the pound of cure we need in order to get back to the ounce of prevention.


  1. Hi - found you through FlogYoBlog...

    Yes, I saw the same thing about 10 years ago in the vegetarian movement, when not eating red meat suddenly wasn't 'veggie' enough, you had to eschew fish and poulty. Then eggs. Now, only being pure vegan is 'pure' enough.

    I'm not a vegetarian, BTW, though I was experimenting with it at the time; the self-righteous aattitude and judgemental one-up-manship of other veggies put me off the whole thing far more than the thought of never eating a Big Mac again. It's sad when a great cause or idea turns into a way to berate and belittle others for 'not doing it right' or 'not doing it as good as I am'. Bleuch. Makes me want to say, "Take your veggie/ green ass out of my sight, y'all! I'm eating a dead cow/ throwing away this piece of styrofoam here!"

    Yeah. Veggie/ green baiting. A new past time.

  2. Oh, I veggie bait all the time. It's one of the few joys in life! *grins* I agree, though. I speak to so many people who say "You know, I try to be as green as possible, but I'm hesitant because it's become so trendy and I don't want to be 'one of THOSE' people."

    Frankly, I can't say as I blame them! My daughter's other genetic half and his other half are prime examples for me, personally. So much time spent preaching and preening that it's nauseating, and I see it not just in them but EVERYWHERE. It's gotten to the point that when certain people start talking, my brain shuts off and all I hear is the Charlie Brown "mwah mwah mwah" voice. =P

    I am a little thankful towards them and the others, though. If it weren't for their peacocking, I certainly wouldn't have the gratitude I do for those of us that are reasonable about it.

    I hope you stick around, I like your attitude. ;)

  3. Bunnies ejaculating rainbows. I think I've died and gone to heaven. Thanks for that.

    Living in Kansas, I don't run into much green lecturism and I probably do more than most (not that that is saying much). Hey did you see me recycle/mulch/lug my own bags into Target/buy used? Saint that I am.

    Glad you found me through Brenda's blog hop. I really like your writing style. Oh, and me loves Warsaw Mommy. - Kristin

  4. @K: Thank you! Likewise, glad you wandered over, and your wit is delightful. Fits right in. :)

  5. Oh bravo!! Brilliantly said and I totally agree. And I'm hearin' ya on the Catholic guilt, too. :)