Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Judgment Day



This morning's click around my favorite blogs revealed an over-riding theme - the environment as a moral high ground.

Over at Organic Picks, CindyW wavered on speaking out about the environment in two distinct social situations. One involved a charity e-waste clean up event and the other entailed a baby shower, a new mom and a Hummer. In both cases, Cindy thought twice before voicing ecological concerns because, in part, she didn't want to appear judgmental.

Car(bon) Free in California also references the morality involved in making the right choice by the environment and noted, when choice is taken away, people adjust but that it becomes "morally boring".

Finally, brave Melinda, at Elements in Time, confessed that, while she is one of the greenest beans I know, she does not use re-usable canvas bags or bring her own coffee mug and still drinks bottled water (gasp, gasp, and double gasp!). In all likelihood, she hesitated before making those admissions - wondering if she might be judged.

By whom, you ask? The righteous environmentalist. Are you familiar with him or her? I am, unfortunately. Sometimes, I have even glimpsed her in my mirror - when she grumbles about the neighbor who drives a Prius but hardly recycles or turns up her nose up at the friend who carries re-usable totes but just bought a SUV. It's called being judgmental and it is not pretty or productive.

Being judgmental is one of my least attractive traits and one I've worked on for most of my adult life. I've learned much from my more patient husband who says that folks with a heavy carbon emission lifestyle are "not educated" on the issue. He's probably right.

My tendency to judge others for not being "green" enough, however, took a dive a few weeks ago. It was a Friday morning. I was waiting at a stop light en route to a doctor's appointment when I noticed a few people biking - to work, to class, I don't know. The reason these bikers stood out to me was that they were biking in midst of Northern California's biggest storm in six years. Rain pelted down or, rather, sideways. Wind tore branches off of trees. My wipers worked over time and I could barely make out the road ahead. So here I sat, in the dry luxury of my cozy car with the heat off - doing my part for the planet, ya know - and it hit me. I live in a glass house. These folks biking in weather later compared to that of a hurricane, dude, these people were hard core. (Or just didn't have the money for a car and really needed to get somewhere.)

I've since learned that people like I used to be (see, I've turned over a new leaf here!) are called Lamers. Huh? "Lamers are anyone that slings mud at someone for not doing enough'." (Look here for more on the "lamer" concept.) Beating up on each other won't halt global warming and may actually stop some people in their tracks. If they can never do enough, then why try? Further, there will always, always be someone greener than you.

What is important is to make a change and make an effort. Living lightly doesn't happen over night. "A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." Wait a minute. "A single step!" See, I told you, walking! Not driving a SUV or even a Prius, people! Walking!! Now that's truly green. ;-)

14 comments:

Burbanmom said...

Great post, GB! Don't we all feel that way sometimes? I never say anything to anyone, and in fact, most of the times I just think "hey look, that's me six months ago!" or whatever. But still, it's not a competition and no one is keeping score. Do what YOU can and hope that others are doing what THEY can.

Chile said...

One huge thing being a part of the blogging world has taught me is there will always be someone out there doing waaaaay more than I do or even ever considered doing. It can be humbling and a great reminder to try to keep the judge inside quiet. 'Course that brings up another challenge - keeping from judging oneself too harshly!

Nice post, Green Bean.

Idaho Locavore said...

I really enjoyed this post, too, GreenBean. As you and chile have said, I know there's *always* someone out there that's way "greener" than I could ever hope to be. So I'm trying to just make changes for the better in my own life while attempting to resist the urge to compare myself with anyone else. Or visa versa.

Melinda said...

Awesome, GB. I'm running out the door to my first Master Gardener class, but wanted to tell you I love this post and can't wait to read about Lamers.

One wonderful thing about this great internet community we have is that we all have our specialties and weaknesses. We are each expert in some areas and completely naive in others, and it's awesome. We can educate each other, learn from one another, push one another....

Ruthie said...

Rock on! My goal today is to be unlamerish.

Amber said...

I'm new to your blog but I really enjoyed this post. I find that I myself am hypocritical because I just DON'T think about all the options of turning green. (I'll drive my husband to and from school just so I have the OPTION of going somewhere during the day, yet I am switching to canvas bags for my groceries!) It's hard to not judge others but it's just as hard to not judge ourselves and just be better today than we were yesterday and accept it.

arduous said...

Green Bean & Amber, right on! We need to stop judging others, and we also need to stop judging OURSELVES or we will drive ourselves crazy. :)

Great post.

Anonymous said...

Great Blog I always have a good time reading it. It’d be great if someone knew about this site www.earthlab.com ? I have used their carbon calculator and it seems pretty legit? Has anyone else used it? They are partners with live earth and Al Gore so it must be pretty credible? If anyone else has done digging on this let me know. Oh and I got a score of 289 on their test…lower than the average in my state! Whoop whoop!

green with a gun said...

To be fair to anyone you have to look at their whole life overall. I mean, if Fred Hollows turned out to have screwed around on his missus for years, sure she'd be able to criticise, but the rest of the world would still have to think well of him - since, you know, a couple of million people have eyesight just because of him.

For most of us, though, as you say - it's best if we just look at how we're doing compared to the past. Step by step...

[came to your blog via helwen...]

Wendy said...

Great post! And I agree with what Chile has to say.

My brain's a bit tired to comment more than that, but yep, I know what you mean.

And I have a confession, we keep our thermostat at 68 during the day and 62 at night. Any lower than that and I have trouble getting out of bed (or staying out of it). There, I've said it. Ever since I started reading your blog, I've had the urge to confess this. Hope we can still be friends.

;)

Shannon Hodgins said...

Most excellent post. I feel like I'm fitting in even less and less and less and less as I go crunchier. Shannon

kale for sale said...

Awesome post green bean. My judge can get wild on the local food thing and I've had to apologize a couple of times and come on back home to all the places I'm enviromentally blind or a slacker. Ack. It's humbling. Thanks for writing about it.

Green Bean said...

Welcome to Amber, Shannon, Gun and the Dark Day gals!

Wendy, of course we can still be friends. That would be so lamerish of me if we weren't. :)

deahamlet said...

Funny post! I must admit that while I resist the temptation to berate anyone and I don't preach (much)... I still don't get why anyone would ever need an SUV. For work situations, a van or a truck would do much better. For a big family, an SUV only adds extra seating if it is of the VERY large variety (which isn't the type I most often see). Most SUV offer the same seating as a normal 4-door economy car.

I stew everytime I see yet another huge vehicle on the highway... empty and with only one passenger. I guess it's some success that I only stew and don't do anything about it.

Still a long way to go! Thanx for the inspiration.

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