Why green ideas fuel family feuds

In: Uncategorized

18 Feb 2010

An interesting article in the Times (London) on how green ideas are exacerbating rifts within families. For example, whether it is environmentally correct to own a dog or cook using an Aga.

Of course all families have rifts occasionally but it is easy to see why green ideas can make them worse. For a start green thinking embodies an element of austerity. If one person is telling another they cannot or should not have something they value (whether an Aga, a dog or whatever) it can clearly lead to tensions. When it is done with the sanctimonious moral piety embodied in green ideas it makes it even worse. Implicitly what is being said is that “not only can you not have an Aga / dog / etc but wanting one makes you a bad person”. It is the flip side of conspicuous consumption: telling someone they are not ethical because they want to consume something that is deemed bad.

No doubt the immense pressure on children to tell their parents to behave in what is deemed an environmentally correct way must be galling too.