How To Let Go of Eco Guilt and Become a Happier Parent

How To Let Go of Eco Guilt and Become a Happier Parent

If you are passionate about green living, you have probably heard the idea that the best thing you can do for the environment is to not have kids.
Apart from the environmental cost of raising kids, these young ones grow up to become adults, and in the U.S., adults produce roughly 16 tons of carbon emissions per year.

This idea, however, leaves many new parents with an overwhelming feeling of eco guilt. Oftentimes, you are passionate about the environment, and you do your best to leave the smallest carbon footprint possible. Despite your best efforts, you still feel guilty about not doing enough.

The good thing is, you aren't alone. In this article, we are going to go over how to shed that sense of guilt and shame as an environmentally responsible parent. You will learn how to embrace green living in a way that leaves you feeling inspired by your choices, instead of guilty just for making them.

What is Eco Guilt
While not an official term recognized by the English dictionary, eco guilt is a colloquial term that describes the uncomfortable feeling you get when you aren't living up to your own standards for environmental responsibility. This is a common state of mind to be in.

Everything we consume has an environmental cost. Whether it is food, clothing, or diapers, there is a price beyond money that you have to pay.

This additional cost is painfully obvious when you are a new, environmentally conscious parent. Because so much of U.S. consumption culture is built upon convenience and designed for profit, a lot of necessary baby products aren't produced with environmental responsibility in mind.

For instance, traditional diapers are made to be thrown out, where they then sit in a landfill for over 500 years before decomposing. Most baby toys are made with fossil fuel plastic in overseas manufacturing plants famous for cheap labor.

On top of this, the choice to have children at all has become a major focus in climate change ethics. Is having a child the worst thing you can do for the environment? What about choosing to have more than one? Is there a way you can live a truly environmentally responsible lifestyle and still have the family you desire?

How to Counteract the Guilt
The following five tips are all easy ways to counteract eco guilt so you can be a happy environmentally conscious parent.

1: Mindset Shifts
If you take away anything from this article, have it be this section.

Shifting the way you view your role in combating climate change is one of the more powerful tools in helping you shed green guilt.

Oftentimes, discourse around sustainable living puts the brunt of the responsibility on the consumer. It is YOUR purchasing choices and lifestyle choices that will, in the end, determine whether or not we experience a dramatic global climate shift.

While lifestyle changes are important, this idea ignores the fact that just 100 corporations are responsible for over 70% of global greenhouse emissions. All 100 of these companies are energy companies specializing in fossil fuels.

As an eco-conscious parent, doing your best to buy responsible products won't do much to lower that 70% statistic. It is something you have little control over, as it requires a massive infrastructure and transportation overhaul.

When large, behemoth corporations are primarily responsible, you begin to realize that we need MORE than responsible buying choices. You also realize that the onus of responsibility is no longer only on you, the consumer; it is on the producer.

Now, this doesn't mean you can live with abandon and drop all of your green living habits. Those are still incredibly important, but they aren't the answer.

Shifting your focus to the reality that large corporations contribute the most to climate change relieves you from the heavy responsibility that is all up to you. It isn't. It is up to you, society, the global business society, and most of all, energy companies.

2: Instill Green Living Habits in Your Children
In most cases, this is something that happens naturally in a family. Whatever philosophy, ideals, and habits are most important to you often get passed down to your children. This isn't a guarantee, however, so it is important you actively work to instill an environmentally responsible lifestyle.

Talk to them about your choices. Tell them why you chose to walk instead of taking the car. If you get them second-hand goods, let them know the reason. Have them help you around the home with composting, recycling, and other responsible habits.

Raising kids in a way that is defined by green living tips is a great way to scale collective change. It also helps alleviate eco guilt, as you know your children will go into adulthood living responsibly.

3: Do Your Best to Buy Truly Environmentally Responsible Products
While this isn't the entire answer, it does help put money into the pockets of the companies that are making a difference. At the same time, it slightly reduces environmental impact, so it is an important habit to continue.

This is why we have worked hard at DYPER to create a truly kind product we can feel good about selling. Buying our diapers means you don't have to feel guilty about providing a necessity for your baby. With our accompanying REDYPER™ service , you can feel good that you are buying the best for both your baby and the environment.

The same goes for baby clothes, baby food, baby bottles, baby toys, and baby furniture. There are a plethora of producers on the market who will give you a kind and viable alternative.

4: Keep Up Environmentally Responsible Living
Beyond baby care, make sure to keep the rest of your household as environmentally kind as possible. Perhaps buy second-hand for more than your baby.

If you live in the city, drive a little less. No matter where you live, you can also contact your electricity provider to see if you can get your power switched to a renewably powered source. Many energy providers will allow you to do this with very little cost to you.

5: Volunteer or Donate to an Environmental Organization
Because climate change is a global, societal program, assisting environmental organizations that are working towards systemic change is a great way to make an actual impact. If you don't have time to volunteer, donating money can also go a long way towards making a difference.

Take a look at some local, national, or international organizations and research their mission objective. The more they tackle environmental policy initiatives, large-scale-system change, and energy policy, the more effective their work will be.

It is Only Disempowering to be Stuck in Eco Guilt
Choosing to have kids and providing for those kids doesn't automatically mean you need to succumb to eco guilt. There are a whole host of ways you can raise them environmentally responsible. Having kids also isn't the worst thing you can do for the environment. If they carry on your kind habits and have a bend towards revolution, who knows what they can accomplish when they grow up!

It is only disempowering to be stuck in eco guilt as an environmentally conscious parent. You have an important role to play in the years to come, and climate change isn't your responsibility alone.

Remember to shift your mindset. Focus on the true perpetrators of this ecological crisis, and do your best to make sure change happens there AND at home.

Last but not least, give yourself grace and never compare yourself to other parents. Do your best no matter how different it may look from others.