When you’re painted as a hero

Recently I went to a friend’s house and was introduced to someone as an “eco warrior”.  And, I have to say, I was a bit taken aback by the label.  Although, I’m obviously passionate about environmental issues, and hey, I’m aware of the name I’ve given my blog, I was a little troubled by this title.

eco warrior badge

Firstly, referring to me as an “eco warrior” paints me as some kind of hero.

I’m not a hero.  I’m a normal, bog-standard, everyday person.  With flaws – oh so many flaws.  Yes, I try my best to not bring trash into my house.  But, my life is not perfect – not even close.  My house is often a mess, I struggle with time management and am a master procrastinator (facebook!!), I can be lazy, selfish and judgemental and, even though I strive to be zero waste…I drive a car, I take long showers – actually I waste too much water in general, my vege garden is a nightmare – well, I’m not even sure I can technically call it a vege garden anymore (do weeds and a giant ageing rosemary bush count?).  And, despite being appalled by dairy industry practices and the impact they have on our environment, I’m still buying butter and cheese.

So, no, I’m not a hero.  And I think that calling me that doesn’t help our planet one iota. Putting someone up on a pedestal makes that person seem extraordinary and that what they are doing is unattainable to mere mortals. But, the stuff that I’m doing?  Buying food at the bulk store, getting things secondhand, choosing glass, metal and wood over plastic, bringing my own bags and containers, cutting down on purchases in general?  It doesn’t require superhuman strength and it’s something that everyone can do (okay, if you live out in the middle of nowhere, the bulk store might be tricky – but the rest of it? – totally doable).

So, if you haven’t made a start with zero waste, it’s not too late.  If you want to think of folks who are already on their way with this lifestyle as heroes, go right ahead…but you’d best have a phone box in the vicinity for a quick change.

Because if I’m a hero, you are too…you just have to put your cape on.





2 thoughts on “When you’re painted as a hero

  1. Hi Kristy, thanks for your thought provoking blog post. I have to say I disagree with you though… in the nicest possible way. I think that calling you an eco warrior is a way of recognising your efforts. I think you should take it as a compliment that somebody else is inspired by what you do (however little these steps may seem to you). None of us are perfect, but doing what we can to help mother nature is so, so important. Yes you still drive a petrol car (we have two!). If only Auckland had a better public transport system. I’m sure you walk when you can. There may still be products you haven’t replaced yet, but you’re headed in the right direction.
    Nobody is judging the state of your house, nor should that be a measure of your heroicness.
    I think you are a warrior against waste and I don’t think that that necessarily implies you are a hero, but maybe you are a hero to your friend… and to your followers.
    Namaste, Bex


    1. Thanks Bex. It’s great to know that the state of my house is not a measure of my heroicness(!). I do, however, have a pretty good hunch that, in this particular instance, the label was intended as a compliment, but that it was also a means of diminishing responsibility. It would be great if folks would look past the excuses and realise that perfection is unattainable, but every step we take in the right direction is a triumph. Cheers…Kristy


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