Got Green Guilt? How to Cope as a Parent

By Amy Jones

Climate change.

Most of us grew up with these two words being cited as the reason for freak storms, heat waves and sea level change.

I think for most of my life I never really got it.

Global warming was just one those worries that would never really happen.

I could make a mental note of it and quickly move on again.

It’s quite frightening how easy it was to be absorbed by consumerism and distracted by convenience.

But then, the UN gave us a date…and s#@t got real!

They gave us 12 years to avert global warming and prevent a catastrophic future for our loved ones.

So now, as if the usual parenting guilt wasn’t enough, an ever increasing number of us can add green-guilt to our list too.

As a parent, I would do anything to protect my children’s future. I’m sure you would too.

But, climate change isn’t like most of the problems we can sort out over breakfast.

We can’t talk our way out of this one.

We desperately want to do all that we can to ensure a better future, but short of living self-sufficiently in a solar powered eco-house, it just never feels like enough.

Every article we read tells of some horror that the things we buy has inflicted on our planet and the living things that inhabit her.

We can do nothing right.

Snacks that cause the destruction of rainforests.

Cheese that is the product of unimaginable animal suffering.

Plastic bags that will lay in wait for centuries until a poor unsuspecting turtle swims by and mobile phones that require blood metals to function.

If you’re feeling as if the future of humanity is resting on your shoulders then it may be time to take a step back.

It’s especially difficult for those of us trying to raise happy little people to strike a balance between living eco consciously and maintaining our own mental wellbeing.

We can dress our wildlings in second-hand, organic, ethical hemp dungarees. We can use nothing but cloth diapers and washable wipes but is it ever enough?

Do we buy our toddler the crappy toy he’s been begging for since his last birthday?

Do we let our children choose their favourite plastic packaged snack?

Do we drive for 3 hours in our gas guzzler to take our kids to a dinosaur park?

These once simple choices are now tainted by our green-guilt.

Here’s the thing though, guilt isn’t all bad!

It can spur us on to make positive changes in our lives and push us to live better.

I’m all for a little self-improvement.

However, we’re helping nobody if we’re so totally overwhelmed by our eco-awareness that we have no idea which way to turn next.

If you’re feeling as if the future of humanity is resting on your shoulders then it may be time to take a step back.

Try some of these ideas for easing your green guilt and turning that negativity into something productive.

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1 Comment

  • Enjoyed your article Amy and recognise your inner turmoil. I feel that if each of us does our best in many different directions which shows respect, care, awareness, tolerance, whilst we live with our families, friends, community, society, at home, at work, at leisure, within our country and the whole world we will all be working towards a better world . I can’t shoulder the entire, dire destruction of our world by myself however hard I try….. but together things will improve slowly in time. Thank you for using your voice!

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