This was the front page sensationalized headlines of the Red Eye today - a small off-shoot of the Chicago Tribune. If the WSJ is classical music, then the Red Eye is bubblegum pop. Anyway, I saw the front of the paper and kinda got excited, but then I read the article and was underwhelmed. It’s an interesting topic to think about, though. Do you have green guilt? What I mean, and the article means, is do you feel guilty when do you things that aren’t green? Do you obsess about being green all the time? Does it consume you?
I ask my wife, “do you have green guilt?” Her answer – “Every single day. Everytime I get in my car. Everytime I feed my children things. I don’t know the last time I didn’t feel green guilt. Ever since I read the Newman’s Own book. Everytime we purchase something that isn’t food. If the food isn’t organic, I feel guilt. Everytime I eat meat, I feel guilty. I can’t buy anything new without feeling guilt. I love Target, but I feel guilty everytime I walk in the store.”
I’d have to say that I mildly obsess. I don’t let it get to me nearly as much as my wife, though. I’m not saying I’m a martyr, but just typical male, I guess. Well – that and I swear under my breath a lot. I do really get frustrated when people do things that are so not green, but are so simple. One example is a coworker of mine. He has a recycle bin at his desk and a trash bin. He constantly throws paper into the trash and never recycles. It’s literally less than an inch from the other bin. I made a resolution to educate and not preach. I can’t say that I’ve exactly followed it – but I’m trying. Right now, I’m comfortably green. I could do a lot more and I will in time. I don’t think I’ll ever be a zealot that preaches constantly to others.
My wife and I have talked about this on many occasions and it comes back to one thing when talking about our green guilt. Most feel that knowledge is power – the old saying – sure it is – but it can also breed guilt. We know too much. We both constantly read green blogs, magazines and news. We watch green television shows. The problem boils down to the fact that we know there is a better way. We’ve seen the alternatives. We know that so much more can and should be done. I think I have to agree with her on the topic of the Big Green Purse. If you want to change the way American’s think green, you need to change how women spend their money. Sexism aside, men make most of the money in the U.S. The flip of that is that women spend 85% of the money.
Back to the article – my favorite quote is by Peter Nicholson, executive director of Foresight Design Initiative, a Chicago sustainable design nonprofit. He said,”If there are people in the world who cannot get good drinking water, and yet we can solve the engineering problem of how to heat our asses in the winter, there’s a problem there.” How true, how true. We live in such excess all the time here. I can’t say that I’m any better than anyone else. I got rid of 26 shirts this weekend – donated them to charity – the ones that don’t sell will be shredded and recycled into other things. The sad part is that I still have 50 t-shirts left, yet I can’t part with them. What if I’m in a Johnny Cash mood, can’t get rid of that one. I do love brown – and yeah – I think I do need 8 different brown t-shirts. Grey (or is it gray)? You can’t have too many grey t-shirts, right? I digress. We’re a consumer society.
What do you think? Do you have green guilt? Like I keep saying – watch The Story of Stuff and you may just start if you don’t already.
P.S. The comments from my wife were used without her prior consent. Sorry, dear.
Source: Chicago RedEye