Environmentalism with Conflicting Values
Updated: Feb 10
Hey internet folks! I've been having this debate in my head for quite some time so I decided to write about it just in case it was relatable.
There is a lot of gatekeeping within the sustainability community. Some of us are zero/low waste, some of us compost, some of us don't produce waste, some of us don't have a car, some of us have electric cars, some of us use recycled paper, some of us use digital planners. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, the acute climate crisis is a complex issue that requires a collaborative solution. But how do we make choices when our values are contradictory?
For example, I might value convenience and also sustainability. However, I now need to make a decision about driving a car versus walking. Driving a car might be more practical, however, I only need to drive for five minutes to get to my destination. If I have time, I might pick walking, as it is a 45 minute walk. By walking, I have clarified that I value sustainability over convenience.
But how do we deal with more complex value conflicts, such as local produce vs. organic produce?
The truth is, it depends. For each person the choice is different. And that is what makes value conflicts so difficult, we all have different values and lead different lives. If every person does some small action to help fight the acute climate crisis, that is better than a few people living a tiny carbon footprint. Climate change is a collective issue that requires a collaborative solution which is why any individual action matters. Check out this post for more tips.
What values do you find conflict when it comes to a conscious lifestyle of environmental activism?