Got Green Guilt? | how to cope as a parent.
Most of us grew up with these two words being cited as the reason for freak storms, heat waves and sea level change.
I think for most of my life I never really got it.
Global warming was just one those worries that would never really happen.
I could make a mental note of it and quickly move on again.
It’s quite frightening how easy it was to be absorbed by consumerism and distracted by convenience.
But then, the UN gave us a date…and s#@t got real!
They gave us 12 years to avert global warming and prevent a catastrophic future for our loved ones.
So now, as if the usual parenting guilt wasn’t enough, an ever increasing number of us can add green-guilt to our list too.
As a parent, I would do anything to protect my children’s future. I’m sure you would too.
But, climate change isn’t like most of the problems we can sort out over breakfast.
We can’t talk our way out of this one.
We desperately want to do all that we can to ensure a better future, but short of living self-sufficiently in a solar powered eco-house, it just never feels like enough.
Every article we read tells of some horror that the things we buy has inflicted on our planet and the living things that inhabit her.
We can do nothing right.
Snacks that cause the destruction of rainforests.
Cheese that is the product of unimaginable animal suffering.
It’s especially difficult for those of us trying to raise happy little people to strike a balance between living eco consciously and maintaining our own mental wellbeing.
We can dress our wildings in second-hand, organic, ethical hemp dungarees. We can use nothing but cloth diapers and washable wipes but is it ever enough?
Do we buy our toddler the crappy toy he’s been begging for since his last birthday?
Do we let our children choose their favourite plastic packaged snack?
Do we drive for 3 hours in our gas guzzler to take our kids to a dinosaur park?
These once simple choices are now tainted by our green-guilt.
Here’s the thing though, guilt isn’t all bad!
It can spur us on to make positive changes in our lives and push us to live better.
I’m all for a little self-improvement.
However, we’re helping nobody if we’re so totally overwhelmed by our eco-awareness that we have no idea which way to turn next.
If you’re feeling as if the future of humanity is resting on your shoulders then it may be time to take a step back.
Try some of these ideas for easing your green guilt and turning that negativity into something productive:
1. Let your voice be heard!
Whilst it’s our government policies that can really make a difference to carbon emissions, we as individuals can still have an impact.
How many people do you think it takes to change the world? It’s not as high as you might guess.
Apparently, the tipping point for social change is thought to be around 25%.
So, your voice really does matter.
Vote, email, sign petitions.
We are sending a message about the kind of world we want to live in each and every-time we refuse a plastic bag, take the bus, or buy second-hand.
Think about the message you’re sending.
2. Switch to renewable energy.
A huge amount of our individual carbon footprint comes from the energy we use in our home.
By switching energy suppliers to one that uses 100% renewable energy has a very real impact on our environment.
3. Foster a love of nature.
I’m not one for forcing my children to follow my way of thinking but we’re always talking to them about the beautiful world that we live in.
Explore nature together.
Feel the sun on your skin and breathe the fresh air.
Teach your kids to love and respect our world and most importantly be a positive example to them.
4. Cut yourself some slack.
The majority of us don’t yet live in a society where living entirely eco is possible.
So, don’t beat yourself up if you can only buy your groceries wrapped in plastic or can’t catch the bus to work.
Instead of drowning in your own guilt, channel that energy somewhere positive (read number 1 again!)
Do what you can, ask for better and surround yourself with like-minded people.
We can’t change the world alone, but every wave starts with a ripple!