Eco-guilt? Not Me.

The Toronto Star recently ran an article on how some people are feeling guilty over their “failure to achieve (the) eco-ideal.” While there are definitely some people who deserve to feel guilty, I think that for the most part, it’s not a helpful feeling, and I avoid it whenever possible.

When it comes to being green, I’m no saint, but I do what I can to reduce my impact when and where I can. My wife and I don’t own a car, but we occasionally rent for those occasions when we need to get out of the city. I’ve resumed gardening this year after a hiatus, but I don’t really compost. The fact is, we can always do better, and we should strive for that goal, but just like we shouldn’t sprain our arms patting ourselves on the back for being eco-friendly by occasionally walking to the corner store instead of driving, we shouldn’t drown ourselves in guilt for tossing away the odd pop can.

For example: Not everyone can garden. I know people who should be banned from ever owning so much as a houseplant, as they seem to do them in with frightening speed. Sure, it sounds like a great idea for all of us to be growing our own food, and it would seem like a great thing for the environment, but the fact is that some people just won’t do well growing things. Should they feel bad because they’re “not doing their part?”

No, but that doesn’t mean their off the hook either. Just because you can’t contribute in one way, doesn’t mean you can’t work in other ways to help.

There are people out there who appear to take no responsibility for their impact on their surroundings – people who drive honkin’ SUVs in the middle of downtown Toronto, people who toss cigarette butts and other garbage on the ground, and then there are corporations who REALLY push the envelope. Maybe a little eco-guilt would do these people some good…perhaps the equivalent of the Christmas Spirits from “A Christmas Carol”. The ghosts of Nature Past, Nature Present, and Nature To Come, haunting those who ignore the damage that they do to the world around them.

Anyone know any ghosts looking for a new gig?

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