You Said Mom Guilt? Nah, I’ve Got Green Guilt

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I’ve always been a softy. An empath, you might say.

I’m an animal lover. I hate confrontation. I want world peace and an end to poverty.

And yes, my life reflects these traits of mine.

I was a Veterinary Technician for almost a decade at the best clinic in Charleston, Animal Medical Center of Mt Pleasant. I LOVED working with dogs and cats and even felt honored to sit with the owners as they went through heartbreak.

I currently work with mothers in the area who are suffering from maternal mental health concerns with Postpartum Support Charleston. Watching these mothers journey from debilitated to motivated is truly my life’s passion.

And just this evening, I registered for my first few classes at The Citadel for my Masters in Psychology: Clinical Counseling. Yep, I want to be a therapist.

This is who I am. I’m passionate and a bit of a dreamer you might say.

Which is exactly why I suffer from Green Guilt.

Let’s define this, shall we?

Green Guilt (aka Environmental Guilt, Eco Anxiety) is this guilty feeling that we should be more environmentally cautious of things that we do.

Help save the planet.

You know, the feeling when you crack open a plastic bottle of water because you left your reusable water bottle at home. Or having your groceries handed to you in plastic bags. Or throwing away your second bottle of hand soap this month.

Remember visiting the South Carolina Aquarium and learning about how we are killing the turtles (and everything else in the ocean) with our pollution?

“Welp, there goes the planet and the future of the entire human race.”

Okay, maybe you don’t get that upset about it, but I do. I feel this stuff deep in my veins.

Every plastic wrapper I throw away. Every ounce of water I use in my nightly bubble bath. Every mile I drive in my car.

I’m so hyper-aware of what is going to go into a landfill, or how large my carbon footprint is.

I’m a vegetarian because of my green guilt, too! I took a course in college called Ecological Psychology that changed my perspective on eating meat, and just how bad it is for the environment. The amount of greenhouses gases that are produced so that we can eat meat is staggering. Let alone the number of forests that are lost as land is cleared to raise the animals.

I envy those who don’t think twice when they throw empty milk jugs into the trash can. I even avoid buying certain things like single-use containers because I want to save that much more space in the landfill.

With the holidays coming up, my Green Guilt is in manic mode.

My mind says “don’t buy plastic decorations or presents. Gift experiences instead of toys. The toys I do give, I will buy them used or thrifted to help reduce and reuse. And, goodness, don’t buy anything that uses batteries.”

But let’s be honest. While this Green Guilt has me by the horns, I have to acknowledge the fact that this is life right now. I’m in a season where my boys want plastic toys and battery-operated robots.

They want all of the tacky plastic decorations. They eat all of the snacks that are wrapped in plastic wrappers. And that is life.

So, as much as I want to save the planet and rescue all of the polar bears, I know that I can only do so in small doses.

I can teach my boys how important it is to be aware of what we are using on a daily basis and what we are throwing into a landfill.

Buying reusable containers and items with less plastic packaging. Always having my reusable water bottle with me. Using bar soap when we can. Recycling EVERYTHING. Shopping at eco-friendly local stores. And buying things used.

One step at a time, we can all make a small difference.

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