Home > burbs, sustainability > ecoanxiety – great essay from Time magazine

ecoanxiety – great essay from Time magazine

December 16, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

After digging out from finals and the recent Oklahoma icepolcalypse I am finally getting around to reading some issues of Time that have stacked up on my desk over the last month. I came across a great essay by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen called “It’s Inconvenient Being Green“. In it she talks about doing what she is willing to do to “go green”, but feeling guilty about what she is not doing to save the planet. Hence the idea of eco-anxiety.

I feel her pain. I drive a car that gets 30+ mpg, I use the right kind of light bulbs, I recycle, I turn off lights, we’ve even talked about putting solar panels on our next house – but I still feel guilty about all of the things I probably should be doing. Takeuchi Cullen resolves her essay with the realization that the things she doesn’t do are avoided because they are inconvenient. Again, I totally agree. I could bike to a lot of the places I need to go, but it is always too hot (cold, rainy, dark, . . . ) . OKC sucks for public transportation and most of the roads around my house don’t even have sidewalks, so the car is always the way to go. Refillable water bottles? Great idea, but I never remember mine. Reusable grocery bags? Again, great, but when shopping for six we would need a Sherpa to carry it around. Just the fact that I read the article in a paper copy of the magazine makes me feel like I personally destroyed a square mile of rain forest.

So I will continue to wallow in my ecoanxiety. Continue to feel inferior to people who have reduced their carbon footprint to reflect that of a tribal villager in Burkina Faso. Continue to feel guilty about leaving some of my vampire electronics plugged in because it’s too big of a pain to restart Tivo every day. Continue to do less to harm the planet, but still do some harm.

At least I can feel morally superior to the Hummer-driving, no-recycling, lights-on-all-night guy down the street.  Of course, he doesn’t suffer from eco-anything.

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  1. May 30, 2008 at 12:16 am

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