Forget Eco-Sins. How about Eco-Mistakes?

February 26th, 2008

Somewhere along the line, the most die-hard environmentalists started using the term “eco-sin” to describe their environmental wrongs. It’s curious really, when most people have either abandoned the notion of sin or recoil in shame at the thought of willfully committing a sin against God’s creation.

Let’s cut each other some slack. Wouldn’t it be much more encouraging if we simply acknowledged our eco-mistakes? For the fact is, just as the pious know that none of us are without sin, so too are none of us “greens” in fact perfectly green.

Consider the following:
– an environmental advocacy group holds a meeting that welcomes attendees with green balloons (Sin?/Mistake? Ack! Plastic’s bad for the Earth, bad for the fish!);

– attendees at the same meeting leave their crumpled napkins, bottles and food behind on the tables, causing the cleaning staff to indiscriminately throw recyclables into the trash containers (Yikes! A meeting about recycling where the expert recyclers don’t recycle!);

– a new government building in a county that levies fines on businesses for non-compliance with recycling does not make recycling containers available in its snack areas (Judge not what I do, but what I say);

– a group of “green Moms” plans a “green” fundraiser, then encourages sponsors to purchase new items for giveaways at the fundraiser (Eek! Whatever happened to Reduce/Reuse?)

Eco-sins? No, eco-mistakes. We’re all human. Reversing long-held behavioral patterns is one of the hardest things to do. And that’s exactly what we’re in the process of doing – learning to change old behaviors.

That’s why the role of Mothers and Fathers is so critical. If we can just get it right with this next generation, there won’t be so many “eco-mistakes.” The next generation, having grown up with an innate green consciousness,  will know better than us.

— Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

8 Responses to “Forget Eco-Sins. How about Eco-Mistakes?”

  1. MamaBird on February 26, 2008 9:01 am

    Great post, Lynn. I make lots of mistakes every day! And I think language is important. Which would I rather do, make a huge sacrifice in order not to sin, or change my behavior in order to make better, more rational, more just choices? Hmmm… and your examples are spot on.

    Thanks, MamaBird! And I wish my examples weren’t real life ones, but they are! Check out MamaBird’s blog at!

  2. marguerite manteau-rao on February 26, 2008 7:47 pm

    Eco-mistakes. I like it. A lot better than eco-sins. I started my blog as ‘The Daily Sins of a Green Girl Wannabe’. Quickly, I – and I believe readers also – got tired of so much sinfulness. ‘Listening to the Planet’ proved a lot more accurate, and also inspiring.

    Right on, Marguerite! Glad you like this concept – thanks for sharing your thoughts. — Lynn

  3. Sue on February 26, 2008 8:40 pm

    oh how true, and the older I get the more ‘mistakes’ I make. How is it that my younger self was well, so much more green? However, my heart is uplifted every time one of my kids takes on an eco-friendly action or idea. Perhaps they’ll correct my many mistakes….I’m hoping so.

    Kids can be so inspiring! Thanks for sharing, Sue! — Lynn

  4. Sharon on February 28, 2008 9:38 am

    I empath with Sue! Part of the challenge in today’s world is that products are MADE to be disposible. It’s hard to fix plastic! Wooden or metal products are usually better able to be repaired when they break.

    How true, Sharon! And how much worse it’s gotten since my childhood! Thanks for stopping by. — Lynn

  5. Beth aka Fake Plastic Fish on February 29, 2008 5:13 am

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! The point is, we’re all human. We make eco-mistakes by accident out of ignorance but we also make eco-mistakes (like staying in the shower too long or eating a ton of Reeses peanut butter cups at work because “they’re little and wrapped in foil instead of plastic”, to name a couple of mine recently) somewhat on purpose because we’re human and less than perfect.

    Who wants to live in a world of perfect people anyway? I vote for assuming the best of people, teaching by example, and letting go of the fear and anger that causes us to judge one another. Not that I haven’t done my fair share of judging, for sure. I guess I’m feeling kinda generous tonight (ever since I got the Greedy Blogger Syndrome business out in the open, in fact.)

    Hey Beth, thanks so much for the nice words on the post! Love your blog, so this is high praise for me! — Lynn

  6. Carnival of the Green #117! « Confessions of a Closet Environmentalist on March 3, 2008 1:04 am

    […] symbiotic species Lynn from OrganicMania discusses semantics and suggests we cut each other some slack and call our eco-sins eco-mistakes […]

  7. Julie on March 3, 2008 10:21 pm

    Thanks for this – I hate the term “sin” used in this way, but it’s so easy to use when everyone else is saying it too. From now on I’ll say mistake instead.

    Great! Thanks so much for your comment! I checked out your blog – -very cool! I love Australia! My son will be thrilled – he likes to look at Google analytics maps to see where people come from. His teacher is from Australia, so you can be sure your visit will be talked about in the classroom tomorrow! :)

  8. Sarah Venus on April 15, 2008 2:15 am

    Eco-Sin/Eco-mistake, whatever it is confess it at we’re trying to make people more aware of the issues and solutions by repenting.

    You can also win some great eco-prizes also.

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