If you want to lead a sustainable lifestyle, you have to be vegan, are not allowed to drive a car and have to ban all plastic from your life. If you ever get on a plane or drink water from a plastic bottle, you can’t be serious about sustainability. It’s either all or nothing.
At least, that’s what some people want you to believe and once you step into the “eco-bubble”, you will soon be confronted with this sort of “eco-perfectionism”. But be assured: you don’t have to do everything at once to change something!
Eco-shaming and whataboutism
When Greta Thunberg is photographed with travel supplies wrapped in plastic, her credibility is suddenly debated everywhere. It is quickly forgotten that she travelled around the world without even boarding a plane. On social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, many who seek to live sustainably need to deal with malicious comments, just because they did not act perfectly sustainably one single time. As a result, many no longer dare to speak out about sustainability or only share fully sustainable aspects of their lifestyle, distorting public perception of their actions. What’s going on here? Sustainability-bashing, eco-shaming and double standard to name a few fitting terms.
Not only people in the public spotlight who fight for sustainability have to justify their imperfect actions nowadays. Any person who openly takes the future of our planet close to heart makes themselves vulnerable. Instead of receiving praise and recognition for taking a step into the right decision, they are accused of not doing everything right.
You always ride your bike, but buy vegetables wrapped in plastic? You no longer eat meat, but take the plane to go on holiday? You go shopping in a zero-waste supermarket, but don’t follow a vegan diet? These are typical cynical comments of friends, acquaintances and family members. Pretty discouraging, to say the least. This phenomenon is called whataboutism: In order to distract from one topic or to detract from a certain success, an unrelated problem is pointed out. It’s important to notice this move and realise that it has nothing to do with the original question – we can recognize several issues simultaneously, yet decide to tackle them one by one.
Every step counts
Eco-perfectionism suggests that you can only make a credible commitment to the environment if you live ecologically flawless lives. For many people, this leads them to just not bother or take a step backwards instead.
BUT: You don’t have to do everything at once to work towards a better world. Everyone should decide for themselves how much they can and want to change. We should not forget that sustainability has a lot to do with privilege.
What’s important is that we all try to live a little more sustainably, without fear of getting something wrong or feeling like we need to justify every single decision.
Every step, no matter how small, is an important step. Instead of wasting our energy on beating ourselves up for what we could still improve, we should rather be proud of ourselves and support each other.
Wouldn’t it lead to much more solidarity if we supported each other and celebrated every little change in the right direction together? – YES! Let’s start 💙
Perfectionism at Bracenet
We have no room for eco-shaming in our team! But as a sustainable company, we are often confronted with eco-perfectionism. Especially when we take a step out of the eco-bubble with our cooperation and distribution partners, this often raises questions. We firmly believe that you can make a difference above all by looking beyond your own horizon. That’s why we also sit down with companies that are not usually associated with sustainability, as there is lots of untapped potential here. It is all the more rewarding to see that we can actively initiate changes in areas where sustainability is new territory. We don’t like black-and-white thinking, but rather have a colourful perspective on the world 🌈. Would you like to receive impulses from Bracenet for your company, association or institution? Then take a look here.
By the way, our Bracenets are an ideal companion for a sustainable lifestyle. As they are always visible around the wrist, they are a gentle daily reminder for small decision towards environmental protection – without ever judging your decisions ☺