How to be green – admit you’re a hypocrite

20130508-221153.jpg I read this recently from a blogger called Scott Bartlett, awesome writer and a shame he is giving up his blog called Batshite.

Anyway, back to the title – it’s challenging but very true.

As Scott say’s “All right, environmentalists: I think it’s time for us to come clean. We don’t belong to a select club of pious treehuggers. We don’t live at the top of an ivory–er, green–tower, studying the unsustainable masses below with disdain.”

He goes on to say “We don’t have perfect environmental records. We’ve engaged in all kinds of unsustainable behaviors in the past. Even since the day we realized how urgent humanity’s environmental problems are–and started trying to persuade others to be more green as a result–we still do things that are harmful to the environment.”

Wow. So the first step is to admit you have a problem.

My name is Simon and I’m a hypocrite.

Scott asked himself why he thinks it’s important for environmentalists to public declare their hypo-criticism “Environmentalism is too often portrayed as some kind of lofty virtue, and those who don’t identify as environmentalists are too often looked upon with contempt. We can’t afford that. If we’re going to make it through this century, we have to do everything we can to include people in the environmental movement–to include everyone.”

So, Scott concludes “If we represent environmental consciousness as this angelic ideal, we risk alienating people who feel they don’t measure up. So let’s be honest, with ourselves and with others.”

Indeed. And how true it is about our built environment as well.

Green buildings can often create a level of being out of the reach of others – how many times have you heard I would love to do that but we can’t afford it. Or calling a development an eco-village may create a sense of elitism that keeps away the non-hypocrites (those that know they aren’t green and don’t pretend they are). Or just think about the criticism a building gets when it achieves a high recognition of being sustainable – “yeah, it might have got 6 Stars but….”.

But that’s ok, that’s good. A building can’t be completely sustainable. So let it be environmentally hypocritical, I am.

10 Comments on “How to be green – admit you’re a hypocrite”

    • Thanks Scott. It was a shame to hear you were giving up batshite, you wrote some great posts. I will certainly follow your new blog. Good luck with it. Simon

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  7. Thanks for sharing Simon, A critical point Scott has made.
    The ‘holier than though’ attitude puts us out of the most important conversations and probably does more damage to the cause.

    • Thanks Robert. Very true and yet very rare in the sustainability consultants realm! We are very adept at post rationalising our decisions – ie I can fly around the world because I don’t eat meat or I eat meat because I holiday locally. Either way I’m a hypocrite and that’s ok if you admit it.

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