Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Eco Snobbery Sucks

This is my opinion on environmentalism. I'd actually never heard of it before I read about the eponymous website  (found here), but once I'd heard about it, I was appalled.

The website itself is a fun read. It's lighthearted and informative, especially if you want to find out how even Sith Lords are planning to go green. But the root of the author's point is clear.

Image copyright Tyrus Smalley
I think that eco snobbery is the worst thing that environmentalists can do to create sustainable ecological change. It leads to a false dichotomy - either you're saving the planet by biking to your yurt in your vegan sneakers while wearing only certified organic cotton tie-dye clothes or you're throwing aluminum cans out the window of your your Hummer while driving two blocks to McDonalds in order to pick up your Big Mac. Given the choice to work, strive, and spend a lot of money to still be told they're falling short, or to throw up their hands in disgust and not care about anything any more, I'm sure most people choose the latter. Either way they're the villains in an eco-snob's view, so why should they bother?

I'm sure you can see why this is environmentalist kryptonite. Eco snobbery undermines our entire platform by making the very people we seek to reach (or become) not willing to listen to a word we say. Instead of being an eco snob and pointing out all the flaws in someone's environmentalist efforts (or your own, for that matter), celebrate every step of the process. Shortened your showers? Drove less? Ate vegetarian for a week? Congratulations! Whoop it up and give yourself a gold star on the calendar. Messed up? Take a page from Scarlett O'Hara - tomorrow is another day. Hear that someone tried something new to go green? Congratulate them, no matter how small the step seems to you. If they're talking about it, they're obviously proud of their efforts, so don't spoil it for them.

How do you keep yourself on the eco track? Do you have a "go green" buddy, who you can swap tips and share accomplishments? Do you write a blog, like me? Suggestions always welcome in the comments. 

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