Hello I’m Esmay and I feel guilty sometimes. Wait what? I’m talking about what I like to call “The Green Guilt”. Because here’s the thing: I feel guilty about traveling and flying loads. About still wearing and sometimes (very few though but still) buying new clothes or products. I feel guilty about the cheese I ate in Italy because they’ve never heard of veganism there before. I feel guilty about those few times I didn’t make the time to go to the market and buy vegetables so I had to go to the supermarket and buy them with plastic wrapping. About the make-up that I still have in my drawer that isn’t cruelty free. I feel guilty about the leather bag that I own and honestly don’t want to get rid of. About…
I guess you got the point right? I’ve noticed that starting this journey in sustainability can be so difficult. Because you can’t just toss away your old life and start a new “sustainable” one. Just getting rid of everything that doesn’t fit this new lifestyle but you didn’t think about at the time you bought it isn’t very sustainable in itself. So the contradiction is real.
The problem is: just living in Western society isn’t sustainable to begin with. Getting 100% green energy for example is nearly impossible. Or knowing absolutely sure that what you’re eating is bio and not harming the environment. Because I can’t research every single thing I consume either.
What doesn’t make dealing with Green Guilt easier is the fact that other people (especially the ones who aren’t too worried about sustainability I’ve noticed…) like to point out your inconsistencies all too much. “I thought you were vegan, why do you have a leather bag?” or “If you care so much about the environment why do you still fly?”.
It’s super difficult to deal with this sometimes. I, and so many eco warriors with me, are trying to do the best we can. Does that mean we don’t make mistakes anymore? No. Does that mean we have the answers to everything? Absolutely not. But at least we’re trying and doing the best we can.
I feel like the only thing that would work to get rid of these inconsistencies is to buy a tiny house, grow my own vegan food, don’t consume anything I absolutely need to survive and basically not bother anyone ever again? As you might understand that isn’t really the solution for me and well, everyone else, either.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: let’s focus on the good here. If we all help each other forward, especially if you know that the other person has good intentions, we’ll be able to change so much. The only way to get rid of all the inconsistencies in trying to live sustainable is if we áll try to do things with the best intentions in mind.
So if you’re into sustainability or not. Next time you talk to someone who is trying their best even though they might not execute perfectly, focus on the positive. No need for that Green Guilt. And otherwise think about what your mom probably used to tell you too: if you don’t have anything nice to say…