Got green guilt? It’s a thing. It means you are burdened by some degree by your perceived personal culpability in the degradation of the environment. You may feel ashamed or taxed by the impact of your choices on the planet and the size your environmental footprint. You’re not alone. In truth, even the most revolutionary environmentalists and natural lifestyle gurus have footprints of some size if they are engaged in modern society. And at one point or another, they probably feel guilty about that.
These days, it’s shoved down our throats that the fate of the planet weighs on each of our shoulders. And, unfortunately, there’s a whole lot of truth to that message. It’s so important to be aware of how our individual actions impact the environment. Yet, the pressure to go green and the challenges that it entails that can make the task feel daunting. It can make people want to give up altogether, sometimes before they even start. It can muddy the process, making it unenjoyable, cumbersome, and less efficient.
Why and How to Start Dealing With It:
When we already care about the earth and want to change, constantly feeling guilty about our shortcomings can make us less productive change-makers. See, that’s why addressing green guilt is a helpful and important task. Ignoring guilt or being unaware of how it’s affecting you can lead to indecision, avoidance, or eventual indifference.
The first step of transforming green guilt is acknowledging that it’s not a helpful feeling. Instead, we can hold on to what’s behind it, which is environmental concern, and we can look toward what IS helpful. The best way to create real and lasting change is through positive motivation and reinforcement. The more we integrate sustainable living into our lives, the more it will become our default way of living.
Yes, we should set out boldly and urgently on the journey toward complete sustainability! But let’s find mindful, healthy, and actionable ways to do so, and then maybe we can actually stick to it without going insane. Let’s take care of ourselves, too, people. That way, we can continue to get better at taking care of the planet.
P.S. Here’s a little graphic to guide you through the process of transforming guilt into motivation. After reading, if you’re ready to make a plan or chart your not-so-eco habits, check out these green goal setting templates. Or, go ahead and subscribe to download a copy of this guide and the writeable PDF templates (save paper, woo!).