On Environmental Hypocrisy and why it’s a Silly Notion

I really hate it when people discard other people’s efforts and label them as a hypocrite when they’re just doing their best. As you may guess, I’m talking specifically about people’s efforts to live a greener and more sustainable life. All too often I hear people saying stuff like ‘’Oh yeah, he’s such a hypocrite. He buys organic food because he thinks it’s good for the environment and yet he drives a car!’’They’re often all hot-headed and righteous, or subdued and accusing.

To be honest, and I’m sorry about the small rant – I shall get back to optimistic snippets soon – to be honest, it’s ridiculous. Environmental Hypocrisy is a silly notion. Who can be expected to do everything? There’s so much that individuals can do to make their ecological footprint lighter, but there is a limit. Due to the societies we live in and the systems that are not under our personal control, everyone will have some detrimental effect on the environment.  I like to think I have a pretty green lifestyle, and I could give you a long list of the steps I take to make this the case, but even so I would assume my net effect on the planet is, realistically, a negative one. Of course it’s more positive (and helpful) to not look at it like that and to instead focus on all the good things I have to opportunity to do while I’m here… But my point is that pretty much everyone harms the planet in some way, so if they’re working to minimize this then good for them! They should be praised!

Take the example from above. The fact that this guy buys organic food is fantastic and isn’t made redundant by his driving. Of course it’d be greener for him to look into other forms of transport, but that’s for him to sort out at a point when he isn’t being insulted by someone who most likely is just touchy because they’re not doing anything like this.

People need to know what ‘hypocrite’ actually means. If I lectured you about supermarkets and said you should never buy anything from them, only to go and do my weekly shopping in Morrisons the next day, I would be a hypocrite. I must confess I do actually sometimes buy things from Morrisons and this is partly why I don’t lecture people about it. This doesn’t negate the fact that I do my main shopping at my local market, health-food shop and organic food co-op, and it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t bother. It just means I’m doing pretty well but I could do better.

It’s not an all or nothing thing – if someone’s doing something good that’s great but you can’t expect their every action to be faultless. I’m all for high targets but that’s just unrealistic. And shooting down people’s efforts is not only rude and hurtful but also of no help to the general environmental cause. Encouragement is what’s needed!

Rant over. Why don’t you have some tea and biscuits?



3 thoughts on “On Environmental Hypocrisy and why it’s a Silly Notion

  1. Hear, hear! Every movement gets so…judgy. I’m definitely guilty of this sometimes (mini rant of my own: green bloggers whose blogs are mostly about product reviews), but I try to remind myself that I am responsible for my own impact — not for judging how I compare to other people, not judging other people. It just takes too much energy from my own efforts to lighten up my footprint!

  2. I am right there with you. Our very existence has an impact on our environment, some of which is good and some not so good. We should applaud those that are doing the best they can, especially when trying to do something good for themselves and the planet. Seek joy in the small steps.

  3. Thank you both of you (: And exactly. Getting all judgemental isn’t the way to go – mostly because people don’t generally respond to it very well… We just need to focus on what we an do, and encourage others to do the same, as positively as we can!


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