In yesterday's NY Times, there was an article, Green but Still Feeling Guilty, about how environmentalists who "cheat" and use things like a power boat or disposable diapers feel guilty about their choices.
I have written about it here a bunch of times how we are not all perfect and we all do things that aren't perfect, but why should we feel guilty? The majority of the population doesn't seem to have this problem as evidenced by the apathy out there, so why should those of us going out of our way to be aware of and doing something about environmental issues be the ones that feel guilty?
I think it has more to do with the fact that our excuses and justifications for not doing something are just that - excuses. We know deep down that we could or should do it, we just choose not to for a variety of reasons. Convenience is the top excuse, but they run the gamut from an eco-friendly substitute not "working as well" to other reasons that sound good but are still surmountable like, "I have allergies" or "I don't have time".
This guilt oftentimes spills over into trying to convince others to make lifestyle changes. And by that I mean that it is a tactic many use to try to make others change their behavior. And, for the most part, it just flat out doesn't work. It puts people on the defensive and any opportunity you had in suggesting an alternative is lost.
It's the same thing with adult parent/child relationships. The second your parent tells you what to do, whips out the old, "you should", or lays in with a guilt trip, what's the usual response? "Yeah, you are sooo right!" Not in my experience.
I'm not one to try to foist lifestyle change on others, I think that's the wrong way of going about it. Guilting people into change is the surefire way of preventing them from changing. Offering them the information and the chance to try something new is far more effective than bashing someone over the head with guilt. Projecting any environmental guilt onto others is almost as bad as the holier-than-thou approach.
So, if you are feeling guilty about some of your choices, examine why. Are your excuses truly legitimate? If so, then let the guilt go. If not, then decide whether it's something you feel strongly enough about to purse, otherwise let it and the guilt go. And pledge to revisit it another time or don't look back. It's not worth your mental and emotional energy.
Do you feel guilty about doing something you know is bad for the environment, and how do you handle it?