It’s been decided. Green is the new black.
Sustainability is all the rage these days, especially amongst the younger generations. We have been raised in the midst of a narrative about the dire state of our planet and the distress that we, as humans, have caused it.
Countless documentaries, scientific studies and political platforms circulate around our daily lives to try and drive the point home: We’ve done damage and we need to fix it.
Living a sustainable life is the only way, they tell us. And many take it to heart. We look for the stamp of sustainability in food, fashion, energy and technology. We recycle, compost, and boycott unethical and non-sustainable practices. We take short showers and use energy saving light bulbs and some even give up meat and dairy in order to leave a smaller footprint in terms of water, energy, and land use.
As a relatively sustainable, periodically vegetarian millennial, I think every effort is a commendable one.
Yet despite all the evidence, there is a stigma that is still perpetuated about “being green.” Those of us who ride bikes to work and buy sustainable clothing are considered hippy-dippy. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, memes about how ridiculous you are flood the internet. If you make some alterations to your life to become more sustainable, instead of celebrating that, people will look for all the ways you’re wasteful and then call you a hypocrite.
It’s hard to put a finger on where the stigma comes from. Conservative media that claims global warming is a farce, perhaps? A small few who preach condescendingly about their green lifestyle?
Or is it a guilty conscience? Sustainability requires some sacrifice. To reduce your footprint you have to be choosy about what you buy and conscious about what you consume. And for the majority of us growing up in the Western world, who can have what we want when we want it and who constantly look for the cheaper option so we can have more, more, more, cutting back can seem almost impossible.
Why should we not have the luxuries we are used to having? Why should we spend more money on sustainable goods when there are cheaper options that allow us to get more bang for our buck?
Sustainability seems lovely until faced with the sacrifice. After that, maybe teasing and resenting sustainable people and companies seems like the better option.
I wonder if the planet would agree.