I was raised Catholic, so I’m pretty good at feeling guilty about various things I do and don’t do *studiously ignores washing-up mountain spilling out of the kitchen*
But man, thinking about the planet is my biggest guilt trip.
When you consider the magnitude of the problem, it’s very easy to get caught up in the stress of worrying extensively about the environment (dubbed ‘eco-anxiety‘) and question almost every action made and the potential consequences for the planet.
Where did I put my reusable shopping tote bag?
Organic or non-organic veg??
Will using this body wash kill dolphins???
I think about these things constantly and it amazes me that other people don’t. When I am doing something that isn’t great for the planet, 9 times out of 10, I’m thinking all the way through about how terrible this is for the planet. It feels like the emotional equivalent of being Hulked in the face.
In the midst of all this eco-anxiety, I find that I’m pulled in two directions: Either chuck everything environmentally evil away and/or buy environmentally friendly things which may also happen to be super expensive! Greenwashing and Green Guilt Tax is in full flow at the moment. I’m not saying don’t buy them if you have the means or needs to but I always tend to panic buy in the zero waste shop because I hope that a £3 stainless steel straw will help save humankind from itself….yeah, even as I write it, it looks ridiculous, I’ll stop now. But the feelings are so real! And so many!
One thing I try to do is (constantly) research the different (and already existing) eco-friendlier options to reduce my need to buy something new.
This is/was especially important for my budget! For example, vegetable and fruit boxes seem to be rising in popularity.
One organic brand I tried does it for £15 a week/box.
Just found out that Lidl sells a box of wonky/unloved veg for £1.50.
They’re both doing a similar job – looking after the environment: one by providing pesticide free produce and the other by reducing food waste. But if your food budget can only stretch to a certain amount per week, it seems almost like a no-brainer doesn’t it? Yay, guilt-fest averted!
One of the actual good things about ye good old days was the ingenuity showed with reusing stuff or being thrifty as heck with what was available. From 2013 – 2015, our house smelt strongly of vinegar at the weekends that was bought for about £3-4 (for 5 litres? I don’t remember) but there was no way we could find an all purpose cleaner to beat that price.
Big up to A Thrifty Mrs who first mentioned that on her (now defunct – sob!-) blog years ago. There are various places and ways to buy it in bulk – I find it in my local supermarket of imported delights, with the pickles and oils. Biodegradable. Doesn’t harm the planet. Cheap. Much cheaper than a gorgeously scented bergamot and passion fruit cleaner from the health food shop that only lasts me a month. A negative is the shower smelling like the sour end of a chip shop for a few hours but that’s something I can live with in comparison. Done!
I try to watch my tone when I talk to other people about environmentally helpful practices.
“Well, that isn’t very eco-friendly!”
Yes, because the positive effects of public shaming are soooo well documented.
I try to talk about the environment to everyone, though not all the time. I especially love it if they ask “Why are you…?” because then I can explain, as chill as ice, how it’s helping the environment.
I use reusable nappies on the Hatchling Uno’s butt and the bright and colourful designs get people talking and a lot more interested than what’s in them ifyouknowwo’Imean.
I try to remain matter of fact, rather than preachy, and to answer questions considerately because nothing shrivels genuine, innocent curiosity faster than blistering scorn (ask me how I know).
I have planted and watered you young seed, now it is up to you to decide how to grow!
I try to take small steps to let people higher up know that I take sustainable measures seriously.
Even if it’s by buying the one sustainable item a brand I love has got. Or by voting for a party that has the environment at the core of it’s values. Or going on a protest to let (the real) adults know this polluting schtick is getting old. Or writing to my MP.
It’s up to the people in power to make sustainable options easier and cheaper for everyone involved.
Finally, a big thing I do to alleviate the Green Guilt is to recognise progress that I’ve made. When it came to nappies, someone once said to me “Instead of getting het up about the disposable nappies you’ve used, think of how many you’ve saved every time you use a reusable one!”
I try and keep that mindset with all things.
This also encourages me to try to master one eco-friendly habit at a time instead of taking on fifteen million new ones all at once. Yay, I take public transport regularly and don’t think about it! Wa – hoo, I’ve reduced my weekly meat consumption till it’s basically second nature! Wowzah, I turn the heating off and
wear a jumper instead – JK! I just sit under the duvet all day like the warmth-seeking hermit that I truly am.
I know it sounds trite but thinking of my little steps helps me to sleep at night when there are too many green thoughts tumbling around in my brain.
Do you do anything to alleviate the Green Guilt that I haven’t already mentioned? All suggestions welcome!