My mom started recycling way before it was cool, so I was on an eco-friendly path from an early age. Somewhere though, my interest in going greener and greener took on a life of its own, and I found myself (on Valentine’s Day) angrily reprimanding my husband for buying me roses that were not fairly-traded or organic. I watched the expectant smile leave his face as I destroyed his kind-hearted attempt to celebrate a supposedly romantic holiday. That’s when I knew for sure: I had gone to the green extreme. Have you done the same?
Let’s face it: Americans are a pretty competitive bunch in general. We have a long history of our obsession with competitions and winning: with sports, health fads, even having the most accomplished child. Being competitive about being green is a logical step in our psyche. And it’s not all bad. Consider events like Recyclemania, a “friendly competition” among North American colleges in categories such as largest amount of total recyclables and least amount of waste per capita.
So when does our obsession with going green cause us to lose the essence of being environmentally friendly and, in simpler terms, being nice to other human beings? For me, having a child was definitely one of the main factors in my spiral into green extreme shame.