Sam Benson wrote:I'm sure I can't be the only one who suffers from guilt surrounding the use of materials and chemicals that are not exactly "good" for the environment. And I don't just mean those used in the process of homesteading, gardening, etc.
It seems like just being alive in the modern world contributes to the destruction of the environment. For instance, just using a computer to post this means I have contributed to the use of fossil fuels and the pollution from the byproducts used to manufacture and power it, possibly child and/or slave labor (or something very close) to make it. Then there's the styrofoam it was packaged in. The plastic it was wrapped in. The truck it was shipped in.....
I am plagued by the guilt.
How do you cope with guilt and what resources can you recommend for learning about and finding environmentally friendly alternatives when there even are alternatives?
Sam Benson wrote: I'm not doing the best I can. I don't think very many of us are. Even if we're doing better than most, we still could do better.
Kris Winter wrote:I know this probably isn't what you want to hear, but obsessive guilt can limit your potential health, success, and contributions. It can feel like the alternative is giving in, not caring, or blythely contributing to the problem, but that is not so! Take a permaculture angle. step back, see the whole picture, identify structural issues, identify cycles and energy gradients, identify promising new technologies and reappropriated old ones. Then plan your calendar and dig in. Don't despair because the work is too big, it changes every year so we can't really know that, and you have a whole planet full of teammates. Also make sure you get enough vitamin dirt on your feet, or snow on your boots, and enough vitamin outside in nature. And avoid coffee and energy drinks and too much blinkbox at night. Hoard your melatonin and evade the dopamine-baited serotonin thieves. The Chinese call it false fire. Feels like it is rekindling your fire but it is actually tearing your house down piece by piece to do so.
Emileah Anderson wrote:Here's an angle no one mentioned yet...
Keep in mind the amount of environmental destruction the "power structure" is responsible for vs. individuals. From suppressing alternative energy and vehicles to subsidizing poisonous farming methods.
And the most damaging: Geoengineering via bunker fuels deployed by ships and God only knows what from planes.
We can fine tune our lives all day...and it won't even make a dent if the above atrocities are ignored and allowed continue.
Nancy Reading wrote:I believe there is no point being guilty for the rest of humanity or 'angry with the bad guys'!
If you haven't read it yet then I recommend Building a Better World in Your Backyard - Instead of being angry at bad guys Paul's book is all about little (and bigger) things we can do as individuals. Positive thinking is much healthier!
My favorite is "The Power of Positive Thinking" by Norman Vincent Peale.
His wife, Ruth Stafford Peale also wrote a book "The Adventure of Being a Wife" based on her and her husband's philosophy of positive thinking.
Another author, Napoleon Hill wrote "Think and Grow Rich", a book that is credited to have influenced more people into success than anyone in history.
For folks who are having problems achieving success with positive thinking, I would recommend the books by Dr. Wayne Dyer. My favorite is "Your Erroneous Zones" and "Pulling your own Strings"
His website which I just found has a "Daily Inspiration":
Sam B. wrote:I am plagued by the guilt.
"the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime."
Sam Benson wrote:Thank you for all of your thoughtful responses. You've given me a lot to think about and resources to use. Exactly what I was hoping for! This is an impressive group of people and I'm glad I found this site to connect with all of you.
I have struggled with this issue since I can remember. I can't really pinpoint the root cause. Maybe the movie Ferngully? Captain Planet? (half-joking). It's so severe that I didn't apply for my first credit card until I was in my late 20s because I felt guilty about the plastic that would be generated to make the card. I think since I was a boy I've just had this fantasy about what the world could be like if everyone cared. But the reality is very different, and here I am still coming to terms with it, I guess. I suppose I'd be considered a hippie by some. I'd probably be a full blown hippie except that love always seemed to bring me pain, so I developed a lot of hate when I was younger, and it wasn't just directed outward. I've made a conscious effort to reverse that trend over time and I've made a lot of progress, but I still have work to do. I'm sure it's a lifelong struggle for everyone, really. My parents divorced when I was 3 years old. I spent every other week of my life for 15 years living a different life. Dad lived in the country, mom in the city. Dad was a hunter, mom was not. Dad was wasteful, mom was conservative. I was raised as two different people. I have a lot of inner conflict as a result. Oh, and I was raised catholic, so I'm sure that didn't help much with my sense of guilt. My interests and desires almost always conflict with my morals and principles. I so badly want to fly airplanes, but I feel guilty about the pollution. I love to shoot guns, but I feel guilty about the process of mining the material to make the bullets. I could go on and on about this, but it's probably irrelevant here. All I know is that I'm thankful that you've been able to give me a little guidance in how to approach my feelings of guilt in a more healthy and positive way, so thank you! And also, if you did read this, thank you for allowing me to be your therapy patient for a few minutes. It really helps just to talk about this stuff.
Ted Abbey wrote: What we do with that emotion is where the difference lies. Do we seethe, spiral, and lash out in ways that are ineffective and ultimately detrimental to ourselves and others? Or do we transform this as fuel for the fire of our passion to be the counterbalance to the negativity and destruction?
Ted Abbey wrote: Be thankful that you are conscious and aware. The fact that you are analyzing the issue, and open to transformation should give you great hope. This simple prayer may help..
The message it conveys is simple and potent, regardless of your spiritual beliefs. Best wishes always..
Sam Benson wrote:But I'm not doing the best I can. I don't think very many of us are. Even if we're doing better than most, we still could do better. We might only be contributing to the destruction in tiny ways. We tell ourselves it's okay because everyone is doing it. But we're destroying the planet. It's a death by a thousand cuts. And it's not just the planet that suffers. It's all the other creatures that live here.
What I'm saying is that I'm having a hard time shrugging it all off. Struggling to not "sweat the small stuff". I need more than just to be told "do the best you can". I need to know HOW to do the best I can, while not losing my mind. And how to deal with the guilt for the things I could be doing better with, but don't.
Christopher Shepherd wrote:My grandpa always said his goal was to put back a little more than you take.