environmental guilt

Today I’ve got a really thought-provoking guest post on beating environmental guilt from Keesje Crawford-Avis. Here Keesje is on a mission to sift through corporate greenwash.  Enjoy!


Becoming more conscious of the impacts of our daily lives is the first step to making better, greener decisions. Yet there will always be habits that endure no matter how often we tell ourselves we really need to change.

Guilt is Tedious

On a recent Moral Fibres post, the issue of environmental guilt came up. Here the quote in this particular article “what’s tedious is feeling unnecessary guilt” really resonated.  Guilt certainly is tedious and I firmly believe a major block in making a permanent change.  If you try to stop doing something out of guilt, that negative emotion is never going to have a successful, long-term impact.  So what do we do?

Well, I have had guilt.  To be honest, I am an Irish Catholic so it kind of comes with the territory!  The thing is, this environmental guilt came about every morning.  I am not a morning person, so every morning is a battle of wills in my head to get up and get out.  Therefore my shower is a blessing and a very important part of that ritual of washing away the sloth.  You may be thinking – but it’s a shower!  Yes but a really long shower, that I felt guilty about.

Turning Environmental Guilt into Action

I turned this environmental guilt into action.  Easy changes I have made to reduce the impact is fitting an aerator to the shower head.  This provides the same feeling for me but less water is used.  If you are building a new shower always ensure the showerhead has a good water label rating.  They can vary from 6 litres per minute to over 13!  And that’s just depending on the shower head you use.

To keep me more aware of how long I have been in the shower I got a timer to stick to the wall.  There are lots on the market.  It worked, to begin with. However, that feeling of environmental guilt as I stayed in way after the sands ran out eventually led me to take it off the wall and putting it in a drawer.  Perhaps I should have invested in one of these instead!

Finding Alternatives

However, I have found an answer in a roundabout fashion.  I found an alternative to wake me up.  One of my favourite podcasts is posted by Pure Green Magazine.  In one of these illuminating conversations, dry skin brushing was mentioned. Its plethora of benefits perked my ears.  As such, I suddenly saw an alternative way to wake up.  Now, post brush, I tingle as I get into the shower, get washed and I’m out.  All done in minutes.

It’s a small thing.  But what it has done is really taught me that feeling guilty is not going to change what we have all done for lifetimes.  First, we need to look at why we do these things.  Better understanding our impacts is the first step.  Then finding an adequate alternative may be the best way to make permanent positive change.

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