Many of us want to be considered individuals, but also have a need for acceptance; which requires a good deal of conformity.
This need can control our actions as it can be a very fine line between what our peers perceive to be cool and weird. Some people’s green journey can be affected by this.
Cool as dictated by our peers or the fashion industry can sometimes be shallow and fleeting. I think many of us have photos from our youth when we considered ourselves extremely cool that make us shudder now.
There can be a little more substance to weird and it’s often what a more sustaining cool evolves from.
In the 70’s it was rather odd to recycle aluminum cans. Now it’s mainstream and it’s generally considered cool to recycle. Being a vegetarian in our society used to be considered odd (including by me) and that is rapidly changing too. Heck, even the idea of being “green” used to be something that only ‘pinko, pot-smoking hippies’ did.
I receive quite a few emails from folks who have been labelled weird by their peers or family for some of the green efforts they make – and for many readers of this site, what they are doing wouldn’t raise an eyebrow.
However, even green living can fall victim to a shallow form of cool.
In your efforts to go green, don’t just aim for what is “cool” at the time. Aside from anything else, being “cool” can often really hit your hip pocket. A great example is designer reusable bags. It’s a bag dammit. It holds your shopping. It doesn’t need a designer label to do that well or too look good; with the latter being purely optional in my opinion anyway.
Analyse whatever the latest green trend is and see it for what it is – is mainly warm and fuzzy or does it have a real and positive impact? Is it just slick marketing rather than a real solution when there are simpler (cheaper) ways to achieve the same end – or could you achieve more by spending your hard-earned cash another way?
Aim for what you can do and within your means. Be your own green role model and don’t concern yourself with whatever you’re doing appearing a little odd to others. You may be just ahead of your time, so consider yourself a pioneer :).
Fashionable cool is transient. Real cool is forever and it isn’t something that is bought, given to you or dictated; it’s a state of mind – yours.
If your need for acceptance is strong and your friends reject you for your “weird” green efforts; just find new friends rather than stop doing what you feel is right. Be aware also that even within the environmental scene there can be greens snobs and there is certainly a “greener than thou” element – don’t let them discourage you or look down upon your efforts.
There are 7 billion of us now and we have the Internet – there is no shortage of like-minded people you can meet.
The stakes are incredibly high and time is running out – everyone needs to do what they can and feel proud of their efforts.
By finding your place without having to compromise on who you are and not letting others hold you back on experiencing your green journey the way you wish to, you’ll achieve far more and feel a greater sense of satisfaction for it.
The Joneses Must Die