Reading Time: 5 minutes

YOU ARE DOING ENOUGH! GREEN SHAMING AND A PLEA TO END IT

With the current state of our environment, there is a sense of urgency to preserve it. However, it is not a reason to shame each other for not doing “enough”, because every action, no matter how small, counts!

Words By Sohila Ahmed 

24/05/2021

Sustainability and green living have gained a great deal of attention in the past few years. This much-needed awareness is continuing to rise, even more through the escalating usage of social media. However, one particular issue all environmental advocates face is green shaming. 

Green shaming or eco-shaming is described as any kind of mockery or ridicule an individual uses to shame another for not doing enough to protect the environment. In other words, no matter how one tries to be sustainable, there will always be a person who will come out and declare all these actions inadequate. 

Sustainable living is definitely hard. Green products are usually on the expensive side, and it would be difficult to deem such products affordable since we can never know the living circumstances of everyone. Aside from money, some may be struggling with health issues that may hinder them from going on certain diets, or any other issues that limit their sustainable actions. Additionally, each person has his or her own priorities when it comes to green living. One person may be focused on using less plastic. Another may focus on consuming more organic products. Both are taking action to save our planet, but neither are doing everything perfectly, and that’s okay! 

However, the reality is that many environmental influencers or celebrities are getting shamed and bullied on social media for leading imperfect zero-waste lives. Cases similar to a certain environmentalist having to fly frequently and being called out a hypocrite even though this individual is helping the environment in other ways. Another scenario where an influencer is receiving hate comments for not buying organic produce or for not being vegan. More often than not, the individual getting shamed already feels guilty for their shortcomings, but “perfect zero-waste” is an incredibly challenging goal to achieve.

 

On a different note, all of these situations only promote negative vibes to outsiders wishing to be more sustainable, but anxious from the harsh judgment they might receive from other environmental advocates. The world is not perfect, so people should not expect others to be. One reason some individuals hurt others with their cruel judgment could stem from the fact that these shamers themselves can never live up to their own unrealistic expectations; as a result, they resort to judging others for any slip-up. However, fighting one another is not the way to move forward, because you can never know the effect of anonymous comments on the reader’s emotional and physical well-being. 

The environmental community should learn to become more united. After all, they are not the policymakers but they are working for the same goals, just using different methods. Shamers could be saving the environment, but harming other people along the way. All of this negative energy should better be directed to something that can genuinely help our cause, instead of fighting those on the same team. Perhaps anger and frustration could be directed towards policymakers and huge corporations who refuse to make a change or positively influencing others to be more sustainable. 

No one should ever have to feel the need to justify every action, feel guilty for the good they do, or even feel less than enough when they are doing the best they can. We should be praising ourselves for every small action towards saving our planet and encouraging others to do the same. Nothing will change overnight, but with a million small steps, we can reach our goals.