Can You Be Too Green?

Being “green” is an idea that seems to be here to stay, and for good reason! With climate change barreling down our throats and causing droughts, floods, and other severe weather worldwide, we should all be taking steps to mitigate it. However, at some point, it’s important to realize if you’ve gone too far. Being able to dial it back a bit could be the difference between saving your sanity and social life, or losing all of it.

The Dose Makes the Poison

It’s a common concept in chemistry that everything can be dangerous at high enough levels, including water. After all, most drownings occur in water, and even just drinking too much can be deadly. Luckily, it’s really, really hard to give yourself water poisoning. Almost everyone will eventually just stop drinking water and will just have to go to the bathroom more than usual.

The same idea goes for being green. It is possible to be too environmentally conscious, but it’s pretty difficult. Most people won’t be able to make the kind of commitment that would require. Instead, it’s more common to see people working it into their daily lives. Taking steps like buying an electric car or switching to un-paper towels can take a little getting used to, but most people won’t worry about it for more than a few days.

What is “Too Green”?

How green you are depends on who you know and how they can relate to your lifestyle choices. Most people will probably be fine using cloth to clean up a spilled drink. However, they may balk pretty hard at using cloth instead of toilet paper. After all, trees are considered a renewable resource, so it’s not something you need to feel too awful about.

There isn’t really a straight line for what’s considered too green. Most of it depends on you, and your definition will be different from someone else’s. One person may have the land, time, and health to grow most of their own food. Other people may legitimately not have that option, possibly due to finances, time constraints, or health.

But there are some things that are still considered, if not too far, at least a bit strange. They usually fall under the umbrella of lifestyle changes that remove or separate someone from mainstream society. Therefore, it’s a wide variety of actions and behaviors done in the name of environmentalism that can be considered “too much”.

Some people may start bringing home trash in order to make sure it’s taken care of to their standards. Perhaps you are one person who would prefer to live totally off the grid. That can work if you’re making the decision for yourself, but it could be detrimental to your family. This is especially true for kids that are still in school and need internet access in order to complete assignments, or for families that are spread all over the country.

On the other hand, if you have the right kind of environment and can afford it, there’s a lot you can do. You can invest in a poly storage tank to store rainwater to use for watering your garden or yard, start a compost bin, upgrade some of your home appliances, or even install solar panels.

Who’s the Judge?

What it boils down to is that no one can really determine what “too green” is for anyone else. A general rule of thumb would be that as long as your habits aren’t causing you mental or financial stress, or impacting personal and professional relationships, they’re fine. Going too far with it can result in something the New York Times called “ecorexia” which is basically a kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder centered around being environmentally conscious. In that case, you aren’t doing yourself any favors and should probably talk to a doctor.

If you’re having fun and enjoying being green, then you have nothing to worry about. If you’re starting to miss out on events, loose friends, or feel like you can’t live up to your own expectations, you should probably try to relax a bit. Just like a diet, being green is easier to do with small changes that you make one at a time, instead of big ones all at once. Give yourself time to change and don’t expect perfection. After all, you can’t learn anything if you never mess up!



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Bobbi Peterson loves writing and regularly posts on her blog Living Life Green. She’s also a freelance writer, green living advocate and environmentalist. You can find more from Bobbi on Twitter.

Author: Bobbi Peterson

Bobbi Peterson loves writing and regularly posts on her blog Living Life Green. She’s also a freelance writer, green living advocate and environmentalist. You can find more from Bobbi on Twitter.

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