There are a lot of small things we can do to appease our eco-guilt, but are they really effective?
Guilt has a purpose: to tell us we're doing the wrong thing and help us correct our behavior. Unfortunately there seem to be far too many things we can do to get rid of the guilt without really correcting our behavior. The eco-industry seems to have identified a lot of products and services to take away the guilt without really getting to the root of the problem.
Take for example the supermarket industry. They've latched on to the plastic bag as being public enemy number one. They encourage people to use alternatives, making the customers feel environmentally friendly. Their corporate websites will use their plastic bag replacement program to show how eco-friendly they are.
What they don't tell you, and so few people think about, is that in a bag of groceries the plastic bag is the least of the problems. That quart of milk, that pound of bacon, etc are far more polluting than the plastic carrier bag.
We see the same problem with the way hybrid vehicles are promoted. Someone who drives 100 miles in a Prius feels that warm smug guilt-free feeling, but the SUV driver who drives 10 miles feels all guilty. The Prius driver has racked up a much higher footprint than the SUV driver.
Are we just being conned here?