Conflicting Priorities – When Going Green Gets In The Way

Conflicting Priorities - When Going Green Gets In The Way

There are a number of articles I’ve read recently that addresse a rising dilemma. Well, perhaps not quite a dilemma yet, maybe it’s just the start of a trend.

It is now socially acceptable to chide someone for their lack of “green-ness”.

Now, I admit I have been guilty of this. Perhaps not as much as some, but that could be because I’m not quite as green as some. And, while I have been considered opinionated in the past, I’ve mellowed.

Realistically, going green means giving up some parts of an established lifestyle. Sometimes that is easy and requires no forethought. Sometimes, it’s a sacrifice of time or convenience, but sometimes it requires sacrificing another important part of a lifestyle.

It’s where this conflict of priorities comes in that it gets difficult.

Do you give up sending your child to a good school because it requires a long drive? How about a job you love that’s far away? Maybe buying everything organic means you can’t afford to make a bigger contribution to your church. Maybe eating local requires trips to 5 stores to actually acquire all of the groceries a household needs for the week. Maybe living in an area with public transportation means moving to a neighborhood that’s less safe for your child or more expensive than you can afford.

The list goes on.

I believe that the deep green movement plays a very important role. They highlight our wastefulness. They ring alarm bells about our environment, they affect government change at all levels. And, they promote a change in attitude. All of this is good.

Though this trend reminds me a bit of the change in appropriate behavior around smokers – from casual acceptance to verbal outrage, it’s not exactly the same thing. (And, by the way, I’m not a big fan of confronting a smoker rudely about their habit.)

Will it become socially acceptable to confront someone who is not being green? In some ways, I hope yes; in some ways no.

Littering is often laziness, not changing an important part of a lifestyle.

Not recycling when curbside isn’t available and it requires packing up sometimes dripping refuse and driving to a recycling center may be.

Not bringing your own grocery bag…at least most of the time is a habit easy to change.

Driving an SUV, when one’s family is large may not be an acceptable option.

So, I hope those on the activist edge of green continue to set examples, work hard to change government policy (so we can get curbside recycling and reusable packaging and organic foods) and be patient with the rest of us who, through a combination of greater awareness and greater options will follow them along the path to green.

MC Milker

A well known marketing expert on green and natural products, MC Milker has published over 300 articles on eco friendly marketing, parenting and green living. Her work has appeared on the Washington Post green site,; on and in numerous other magazines, blogs and journals.

Note: This Perspectives Blog post is written by a guest blogger of The opinions expressed on this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dr. Greene or, and as such we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied. View the license for this post.

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