An enviro-moralism, substantiated by the current sense of ecological responsibility, has permeated modern discourse. Al Gore said, “this is not a political issue… it is a moral one.” One is judged by their use of plastic bags, their vehicle, their light bulbs – their consumption. The idealism has become dogmatized, which in turn allows for judgment based on this moral code. Nature has been deified, made ‘God-like’, perpetuating social persecution of those who are ‘un-godly.’ Celebutantes, politicians, ecomoms, musicians, businessmen, and hippies alike are analyzed, critiqued, chewed-up and spit-out, often by those attempting to initiate change.

The guilt and eco-anxiety mentioned in Patricia Leigh Brown’s recent NYT/IHT article on EcoMoms touches on the internalization of this ‘right and wrong.’ People torment themselves over decisions. The consumptive race leaves one feeling despondent. Perfection in all things eco and environmental leads some to self-flagellate or harshly judge others.

Allowing for contradiction or hypocrisy grants an acceptance and a willingness to “do what one can” while avoiding the eco-neurosis caused by either never feeling one is doing enough or by constantly living on a soapbox. Assuming that one can live without inconsistency, in an idealized state of eco-harmony, is naive and perpetuates a form of fundamentalism. As we have seen, fundamentalism leads to judgment, hatred, and violence. Perhaps accepting the potential for imperfection permits one the true ability to change?

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About Kimberly Jordan Allen

One Comment

  1. While I do base much of my moral code on how I use or abuse the environment, I think we have to recognize that we’re all also hypocrites. I’m sure even Ghandi did things that weren’t “Ghandi-esque” ! Also, while I acknowledge I have a duty as a citizen of planet Earth to protect and nourish it as much as it has given me, I also realize that I only get one shot at this life and I’m gonna enjoy it as much as I can! That means not submitting to gloom and doom thinking and knowing that when we’ve overstayed our welcome on this spaceship Earth, humanity will go the way of dinosaurs. So like my grandma always said: Live is about finding balance. That’s what I strive for.

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