NY Times: Green Living A Source of Guilt

Like any religion, environmentalism imposes behavioral rules on its adherents. Breaking them – sinning – inevitably leads to feelings of guilt.

The Sept. 30 New York Times boasted a page and a half article offering a glimpse into the lives of top environmentalists. However, the interviews turn out sounding more like a church confessional as greens admit their “environmental sins.”

Five out of the six people interviewed admitted to feelings of remorse when failing to live up to the standards of their green lifestyle. When asked about his environmental guilt Josh Dorfman, author of 'The Lazy Environmentalist: Your Guide to Easy, Stylish, Green Living,' stated “Not only do I feel guilt, I feel hypocritical.” Dorfman's environmental sin – using disposable diapers.

Causes of guilt start at disposable diapers and range from owning 2 houses to boating on the weekends. Even having a pool at one's home is cause for shame and fabricating excuses.

Business owner Danny Seo states, “I'm a very guilty person — I could go on for days.” His grand offense is that he occasionally drives an S.U.V. on business trips. “The problem is the shoot will be on Monday, but I will be in L.A. for meetings, which means for four days it's me alone in this giant, empty S.U.V. in the city of the Prius.” That's another guilty green confessing his eco-offenses.

When they break the “moral” laws of their religion, greenies feel guilty. But if this is the case, why don't these environmentalists stop doing the things that make them feel guilty? The answer: greener isn't always better.

Josh Dorfman chooses to use disposable diapers over cloth because “[I]t's the most functional diapers we've found.” In his business, Danny Seo admits “I have to make a lot of stuff, and a lot of the glues and spray paints that we are using are not so eco … but I can't find another glue that works as well.” The green movement causes its followers to feel badly about using a better product over a lesser quality, though greener, product.

There was one man interviewed who did not seem to share this burden of guilt that the others carry. Frank Sliney, CEO of Franmar Chemical (motto: “solutions from soybeans”) is the exception to the rule. When questioned about the size of his house he responded, “My house is 4,800 square feet. I'm a rich guy. We lived in a little apartment; I worked for 20-plus years building this company. I drive a Lexus 460. I worked like hell all my life and paid my bills and never was on public aid …You know what I think? If you wake up in the morning and your biggest concern is trash cans or what kind of window sprays you're using, you are having it good. There are people who wake up and their biggest concern is getting fed.”

Unapologetic, Mr. Sliney is obviously an apostate who has not yet found his way on the green-bricked road to redemption.

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