Magazine article Alternatives Journal

Green Enough?

Magazine article Alternatives Journal

Green Enough?

Article excerpt

Daddy, what did YOU do to make the community more sustainable?

IN HER NEW BOOK, Mom, Will this Chicken Give Me Man Boobs?, Robyn Harding describes her angst about her mediocre green behaviour as compared to that of her pinnacle-of-greenness neighbours. Harding lives in conflict. She loves her beautiful neighbourhood in Vancouver, and appreciates the active, engaged and committed environmental crusaders who share her postal code, but she just can't seem to leap from her perch as a respectful observer.


Harding's children have an ever-increasing knowledge of environmental and social issues, and they become best friends with the spawn of the neighbourhood's green goddess, who eats only local or fair-trade organic food that is sourced with the use of public transit or a bicycle. Her children are knowledgeable beyond their years; they speak of complex global sustainability and take no pleasure in conspicuous consumption.

In a brave attempt to enter into a more meaningful discussion with the milieu-vert, Harding considers joining a local group that discusses the implications of, and possible mitigating solutions to, global climate change. Upon further research (visiting a website), however, she concludes that she wouldn't feel comfortable participating in her eco-warrior community. She just isn't green enough.

It's true--some members of the community have spent years working on those dreadlocks or collecting a wardrobe of sweatshop-free fabrics that marry gently-used-chic with Mountain Equipment Co-op sensibility. Although Harding states in her book that she believes her carbon-conscious neighbours are not judgemental, she nonetheless succumbs to her fear of standing out and being perceived as different.

The fear of embarrassment, it seems, can be debilitating. Social psychologists explain that embarrassment can prevent people from administering first aid to someone, even if the individual is in a life-threatening situation. …

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