Sustainability and green living are hot topics that have gained a great deal of traction in the past few years.
As sustainability continues to take over social media and is being used in campaigns to create awareness on climate issues, individuals also are playing their part in reducing their carbon footprints via actions.
From ditching plastics to cutting meat intake to commuting via public transportation, everyone is doing what they can to salvage the situation.
However, there are others who are not making any attempt to be sustainable either because they do not understand why they should alter their lifestyle or because they have underlining health issues that they simply can’t take the risk of.
And then, there are those who are aware but do not have the financial capacity to adopt a sustainable lifestyle.
Whatever the reason, eco-shaming these people because you feel they are doing little or nothing to keep the environment safe is more often than not, a spoke in the wheel of the climate movement.
Eco-shaming is the act of ridiculing or mocking individuals for acting unsustainably and not doing enough to protect the environment.
They hound people for living lifestyles that endanger the planet and most times, are never satisfied by the length of actions taken (whether little or great) to protect the environment. For them, it will never be enough.
Eco-shaming has served as a driving factor for climate change awareness, inspired people to live sustainable lives, and increased their knowledge of sustainability.
Those who do the shaming, see it as a way to promote change for a healthier planet. Some of their actions have, to their credit, led to positive changes for our earth.
We’ve had instances when celebrities were called out on social media for using plastics or cases when brands were publicly shamed for polluting the environment, causing them to make changes – showing how eco-shaming can inspire changes in human behavior.
However, eco-shaming has become more common and brutal as many people have increased their attacks on others, causing people who would originally have warmed up to the sustainability idea to catch cold feet.
Many environmental influencers, celebrities, and private individuals are getting eco-shamed and bullied on social media because they seem to be wanting in the sustainability department according to the eco-criteria of the shamers.
One thing eco-shamers fail to realize is that people contribute their own sustainability quota in different ways. One person may choose to adopt a plant-based diet as their own way of saving the planet while another person may decide to do away with plastics. They are both championing the same cause.
Eco-shaming has become more harmful than motivating and it can take a negative toll on the mental health and happiness of the people at the receiving end.
While understanding the importance of creating awareness on the climate crisis, the eco-shaming approach by most of the people who do the calling-out is misguided.
For one, big organizations are the greatest carbon emissions culprit but they hardly get as much eco-shaming as individuals, especially celebrities and environmentalists get.
For us to win the fight against climate change, we need one another. Let us not dissuade people through our actions which, sometimes, come from a good place but because of our approach, ends on a bad note.
Instead of eco-shaming people who make unsustainable choices, develop an inviting and inclusive approach to spread sustainability awareness.