what are our worst carbon crimes ?

We all say that we are making an effort to cut carbon emissions but I was thinking today about what changes I still have to make, not just in lifestyle but in taking direct action. I like to think that I’m being less wasteful aswell as producing less carbon emissions, sometimes it’s also good to remember that most of the actions we take will also save us money and give us a better quality of life.

We are living in an age of guilt, we are constantly being made to feel bad for our lifestyle and actions, as important as this is guilt is not a advisable starting point for any change. Don’t feel guilty, feel as if you are making a difference, feel good about the steps you are taking not bad about the life you used to live.

I would say that one of my worst carbon crimes is feeling guilty and then imparting that on my family in the form of criticism. “Do you know how much CO2 emissions leaving that light on causes.”, etc. A better way to deal with this would be to say “Think of the money we will save, by doing this, which we can spend on a day out.”

Instead of thinking how bad we have been in the past for using air travel to go on holiday, think about what you have been missing at home, holidays are about taking time out and spending time with the family. Do you really want the stress of getting up at 5am to go to the airport to sit round a pool all day? when you could be spending it with relations or visiting a part of the country you have never been to before. Most of my best holidays were spent here in England in a caravan not eighty miles from where I lived.

The media is partly to blame as they normally take the pessimistic viewpoint. Telling us the worst case scenarios instead of showing the people who are living with a lower carbon footprint so we can lead by example. So many articles and reports claim statistics or give you the opportunity of lowering your carbon footprint by 5% or 10%, which hardly makes people feel like it makes any difference at all.

I don’t want you to think that I don’t take it seriously and I am constantly trying to rethink ways to simplify my life with the minimum of stress. What I want to change is our attitude towards climate change, our worst climate crime is a forced feeling of guilt, instead of acting because of a feeling of guilt acting with a feeling of making a difference, we should feel good that we are changing the way we all live for the future. This will be the generation that will have to make a difference lets do that with a positive mental attitude, rather than a negative one.

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10 thoughts on “what are our worst carbon crimes ?

  1. Alyx says:

    Yeah – I agree. Now the government and media are putting the pressure on us ‘mere mortals’ and making global warming all of our fault. Grrr. Anyway – thought I’d post this link again seen as its quite relevant. It’s also good to see it broken down into quite an easy to use guide.

    http://lifeandhealth.guardian.co.uk/ethicalliving/story/0,,1993716,00.html

  2. Mel says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with everything you say. It’s so much better to do things for a positive reason, and feel good about what you’re doing, rather than feel guilty. It’s also better to enjoy your choices – “Hurrah, today we’re going to the farmer’s market”, rather than feel deprived – “I’d rather go to Tesco but I’m told they’re baddies so I won’t”.

  3. dibnah says:

    I try and look at it from a Buddist ‘right action, right mindfulness’ point of view.

  4. danlewer says:

    My worst carbon crime must be flights. And I have definately both felt guitly about flying and felt deprived for making an ethical decision not to! I will certainly try to use your approach when making these decision in the future.

    Thanks for the post.
    Dan. http://inbalance.wordpress.com/

  5. Yes, holidays are for spending with family. But what if one’s family is across the sea? This whole flying thing has been a wrenching dilemma for me. Anywhere in Europe can easily be accessed by train but there’s no train across the Atlantic to where my loved ones are. I wrote about the whole carbon dilemma at length in an article in GreenSpirit Journal a while back. If anyone is interested in reading it.
    Blessings,
    Marian

  6. dibnah says:

    I’m not saying never see your family again thats a true reason to fly don’t feel bad about there is the guilt again, I’m talking about the people who go into Thomas cook in January pick up 6/7 catalogues then go where they went last year because they had fish and chips and spoke english.

    Don’t feel bad for going to see your family

  7. Shane Bill says:

    Dude you really have the right attitude here. This is something that I spend time talking to youth about as well. First got involved educating youth about the “change they could be in the world” through a bike tour called The Otesha Project in Canada. It changed my life and helped me realize that a lot more can be done by saying to peeps…”Hey, try taking baby steps and integrating something new into your life. If you get comfortable with that change then and you want to expand trying something else new to add to that.” It goes over well with all ages cause small things are more tangeable (read: people get freaked about all the massive changes they have to make to be carbon neutral). BTW their book is a pretty rad read for anyone interested.

    One of the best quotes that I try to live by in every day life is by Ghandi – “Be the change you want to see in the world.” And yeah sometimes you aren’t going to make compromises but what counts is that you are trying to make change and generally making a difference.

    Sorry for the speech. But with regards to the airplane issue I have a few points. I think there are merits in traveling (I’m in New Zealand / Australia right now hookin up with local activists and learning a great deal). But I think we need to be more conscious of how much energy is used to get us from point A to B. This means that perhaps rather than just going to see family on the other side of the world for 2 weeks go for a month. If you have the money offset your carbon miles through the purchase of wind power or something else.

    Also, when I travel I try and put something back in the communities I visit. So I’ve been volunteering a lot where ever I go and as a result I feel better cause I get to know peeps and it helps to put something back in the place you are touring around.

    Just some food for thought.

  8. dibnah says:

    thanks for the comments I’ve been away for a few days.

    the ghandi quote is one I always use too.

  9. dibnah says:

    You are right about travel, I think the reason people give up travel by plane is a commitment to reducing carbon and not that they are not pro travel. I have been to Mexico, new york, and all over Europe and would never want to change that.

    We can learn a great deal from travel for ourselves, but I think that people who choose not to travel by air also have alot to teach us, there are many ways to do something but to know one way perfectly can be just as rewarding.

    I have still not made my mind up about air travel, I will be going to Bulgaria next month, so I can’t talk.

  10. […] ran across an article earlier this year about our “carbon crimes”. Since greening my life is a direct […]

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