“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

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