The hypocritical side of a more sustainable lifestyle

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We’re all striving for a better world. An ecological lifestyle has become our new goal. But is it effective? Or is it rather a fashion trend we want to meet? Are we all lining up because more and more people seem to live like this? 

Thinking is difficult, thatโ€™s why most people judge.

I, Stephanie, provide my daughter with a sandwich box instead of aluminum foil. Also do I go to the store with reusable shopping bags. Next to that I don’t eat meat and I go shopping for new clothes for myself at most once a year. Does this make me a sustainable person? No, anything but. 

I prefer the car to the bike, I buy new outfits for my daughter every month and look at what would look good on her without thinking about the effect this has on nature. I’m a waste sorting disaster and the first thing I did when I bought my house was to remove the compost bin that the old owners had left behind. Because I would never use it, would I?! Does this make me someone who lives a sustainable life?! Neither does it. 

Compensation behavior

Ecology is the new term of recent years. People think more and more about their buying behaviour or lifestyles. But an important sideline drawing that we should not forget: going to the gym and eating a pack of fatty fries will not help you lose weight. You can also extend this principle to the numerous attempts to live a more sustainable life.  

Suppose you buy a hybrid car because it is oh – so – good for the environment, but you are going to drive long distances with it. You replace all the lights in the house with LED lights and leave the light on much longer. You don’t eat meat for a year but then fly to Bali. How useful is your sustainable lifestyle then?!

Moral self licensing

Humanity is something complex. Numerous scientists and psychologists have examined the nature of our beast several times. We know that for some reason we assume that if we do something right, we may be rewarded for it. Although we are not always aware of it, this behavior exists effectively. We give ourselves a moral license or moral self-licensing, so to speak. 

I work every day on my bike, I don’t eat meat and I consume as little waste as possible. Then I really deserve a tropical holiday by plane, don’t I?! But if I’m honest with myself then I’m smart enough to know that this reward nullifies all my previous attempts at a sustainable life.

The Eco-elite 

We are all trying to do our bit for a better world and a better environment. But let’s also be honest; our ecological lifestyle is mainly based on buying green things more consciously. 

Moreover, we also clearly see that those who have a larger budget will only discover the benefits of a more sustainable lifestyle. Healthy eating styles, charging stations for an electric car, greener neighbourhoods and cleaner air, these are things that are an opportunity for people from the eco – elite. 

Radicaler 

Every little bit helps, that’s right. But as I described above, it is hypocritical to shout from the rooftops that you have a more ecological lifestyle by cycling but go on holiday by plane. Our ecological lifestyle is on the rise, but it can be much more radical than we are already doing. Choose the train instead of a hybrid car, stop buying clothes instead of sustainable brands, don’t put sustainable products on the market anymore but first see how you can make the current sustainable market more accessible for all of us! 


I don’t always claim that little bits help, the only thing I do is to think about your own way of life. It is nice that you make it seem that you have a sustainable life and then combine this with fantastic photos of your second trip this year. Realize that not all of us have the same resources as you do. That we can’t all just take the money from our savings account for a hybrid car and that you too can do even better than you already do. No more and no less. Dust to think about, right?

This article has been written by Stephanie De Vroe from @SMOTHERHOODS

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