Thursday, April 4, 2013

Enviroguilt - it's not good for any of us

Ah ... Facebook!!  You provide so many bloggable topics!

This morning this meme came across my Facebook page (shared by a friend of mine):

World's Largest Digging Machine
"This is the largest digging machine (or trencher or rotating shovel) in the world. It was built by Krupp and is shown here crossing a road in Germany on the way to its destination, an open air coal mine."

It made me angry. 

There are a couple of reasons for the anger.  Firstly, I cannot believe that something so huge and destructive exists - no, I take that back.  I CAN believe it, I just didn't know about it.  And it's shocking.  And anger-inducing.

But the second and more important reason for it making me mad is that whoever made this meme, although having possibly good intentions, has done nothing but make the reader feel guilty and hopeless. 

By putting this crap out there, they have basically told us that our planet is being destroyed, and the things that we can do about it as individuals are useless.  How does that help ANYTHING???

At our house we have made many changes to improve our energy consumption.  But I never feel like it's enough so I do try to add more regularly.  I'm not even sure I can list them all now.  Not because we don't do them anymore or they aren't important, but because they have become such a part of our lifestyle that they don't feel like an effort.  Those changes just feel normal now. 

This meme that was posted, though, was telling us firstly that we didn't care enough about the environment.  The only thing we've done is change our light bulbs and everyone then thinks that the world is fine.  I'd argue that there are very few people that feel that way.  Most people are very concerned for our planet and are trying to make a difference.  Not enough, perhaps, but they are trying.  Shaming them, guilting them, and then giving them nothing productive to change, well that isn't helping anyone. 

If an angry person is going to make a meme like this, they could, at the very least, tell us something we can do about it.  Tell us to write to the German government, or the company that uses this thing.  Tell us what to do that CAN make a difference in our personal lives.  Don't just make us feel guilty about it.  It doesn't help, it makes things worse.

I prefer this meme instead: 

I'm the first one to encourage people to do as much as they can to conserve energy and help save our planet, but let's do it in a positive fashion, shall we.  We don't need a hopeless population out there, we need an empowered population.
P.S. - things you can do:
1) grow food.  Even a little.
2) use your clothesline - or a rack - when you can
3) use fluorescent or LED lights :)
4) take reusable bags to the grocery store - seriously, this one is easy.  Lots of people do it.
5) make your own laundry detergent - save all the chemicals and the plastic bottle
6) make your own deodorant - again, save on the chemical and the plastic
7) very simple - turn off lights and appliances (including computers) when you aren't using them
8) have only one car - drive less - if you live where there is public transit, use it!
9) turn down the heat - or turn the thermostat up on the A.C.
10) most importantly:  CONSUME LESS - that's the biggest thing we can do.  If you don't need it, consider carefully if you should buy it.
Which leads me to my favourite saying of all (maybe I should create my own meme - maybe I will someday, but not today):

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