Enough Pious Eco-Snobbery - But What Next?
Last week Green as a Thistle argued that "the greenest way to live is in the gray area. We can't possibly take this movement to the next level when we're still bickering about whether so-and-so is an environmentalist or not. Who cares?" In a similar vein, Nigel Farndale is arguing in the UK's telegraph newspaper that we need to put an end to "eco-snobbery". Having confessed to looking down at the man next to him in a sandwich store for asking for a plastic bag, Farndale goes on to describe his dawning realization that the green movement will suffer a major backlash if it continues to judge others for their eco 'sins' or lecture people on what they should be doing:"It is, after all, a scientifically verifiable fact there is nothing in this world more annoying than being lectured by a pop star. According to this premise, the blame for the Iraq war rests squarely on the shoulders of Ms Dynamite. Had she not argued in March 2003 the invasion should not be allowed to happen, it wouldn't have happened. Her annoying intervention was, for George W Bush and Tony Blair, the tipping point.
Being harangued by a newspaper comes a close second. The Independent has been banging the environmental drum for a few years now - ever since its editor-in-chief, Simon Kelner, had lunch with Laurie David, Hollywood's richest and most glamorous eco-warrior, the woman who holds "eco-salons" for Leonardo Di Caprio, Cameron Diaz, Angelina Jolie et al."
Farndale goes on to explain that he is all in favor of recycling, sustainability, diversity, lowering carbon emissions, but that the green movement needs to be more subtle about its messaging than is currently the case. Presumably torching green McMansions is not high on his list of ways to take green mainstream.
We certainly couldn't agree more that the green movement needs to avoid alienating people through judgement or pious grandstanding. Having said that though, it also needs to create change in the way a majority of people live their lives, so it needs to communicate with conviction. We'd welcome our readers' thoughts on how we navigate between the two.