Why We Need to Stop Eco Shaming

Eco or sustainability shame is a phrase that is being thrown around a lot but what does it actually mean? Eco shaming is making someone feel bad for not being sustainable enough. Maybe you're really into avoiding plastic but someone points out that you still eat meat which is also really bad for the environment. This is eco shaming because it's making you feel like your contributions are not enough. 

Unfortunately, eco shaming happens all the time. Often when I tell people that I am vegetarian because of the negative environmental impact of the meat industry I am often confronted with, "yes but avocados/coffee/palm oil are just as bad". Whilst this is true, this doesn't mean that my efforts are invalid. 

We are even guilty of eco shaming ourselves! How often have you beat yourself up because you forgot your reusable bottle and you've had to buy a plastic bottle of water? Or maybe you forgot your reusable bag and had to buy a plastic one from the supermarket? I kick myself when this happens to me but why? One mistake doesn't make the rest of my sustainable habits void. We need to learn to be kinder to ourselves and others - we are all on this journey together.

Pretty much every aspect of our lives has a drastic impact on the planet whether it's down to carbon footprints or plastic use. Food, drink, technology and clothes all have a negative impact on the planet. Some people are able to tackle most of these areas by going vegan, only eating local and ethically sourced food/tea/coffee etc., only purchasing from sustainable brands but for a lot of people going 100% green and sustainable isn't an achievable goal. There are so many factors to take into consideration such as income, disabilities, where you live, physical illnesses, mental health and the list goes on. These factors might affect your  ability to live sustainably and that's okay. 

But does that mean we should give up entirely? Hell no. Any changes that we can make to our daily lives to help our planet is a job well done. As I mentioned in a previous post about my personal eco-guilt

Being able to drastically reduce waste and to wholly commit yourself to a life of sustainability is a privilege.
Despite what social media tells us, nobody is perfect. We are all on our own individual journey to save the planet and we all need to respect that. Ultimately, we all share the same goal but are taking different paths to get there. This is something we should all try and be mindful of before judging other people - we're all just out here trying to do our best.


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