“Greener than Thou”

June 3rd, 2008

Most of us know to keep our distance from people with “holier than thou” attitudes. But how do you respond to those who profess to be “greener than thou?”

If you’re not fully public with your green views, you may not have run into the “greener than thou” phenomenon yet – but trust me, you will.

Last summer, it caught me off guard when a friend asked, “How many trees did you kill?” as he watched me grab a bunch of paper towels to wipe up yet another baby spill. For a few moments I had no idea what on earth he was talking about. I had never considered my good ole’ Bounty “Quicker Picker Uppers” to be dead trees! When I realized he was chastising me for an eco-mistake, I felt embarassed and awkward.

Last week, Green Mommy blogger Sommer of Green and Clean Mom confessed on her blog that she drove an SUV and was tired of apologizing for it. Backlash? Well, she lost subscribers as a result of her post, and as you can imagine, parts of the green blogosphere were abuzz about this. Max Gladwell weighed in with some supportive tweets on her side, and Green Daily covering the controversy with the question, “Can you call yourself green and drive an SUV?”

Check out the links – there are some interesting arguments on both sides.

I hate SUVs for many reasons – I’m more in the Prius camp myself. But I do think you need to give people the benefit of the doubt and avoid being “greener than thou.” You don’t know what unique trade-offs each person makes when buying a car, and unless you’re personally measuring someone’s carbon footprint and recycling matter, you really don’t know who is “greener” than whom.

What do you think? Leave a comment and share!

— Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

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