We humans are funny, flawed, little fuckers. Sure, we’re sometimes lovable and squidgy, and some of us can even juggle, but our need to categorise everything and everyone often gets us into trouble. It spans from small things like asking people the worst introduction question ever: ‘what do you do for work?’ To bigger things like trying to label people as gay or straight. Sure, you might be genuinely interested in what someone does for a living, but as soon as you find out their answer, you pop them into a category because it’s what we’re conditioned to do. Oh, you’re a writer? You must be amazing at spelling. You’re a lesbian – do you play soccer? Imagine if you’re a bisexual writer who can’t spell or play sport, then you’re fucked.
In an eco sense, the fascination for categorisation is no different – especially when it comes to vegetarianism. Hello vegetarians, vegans, lacto vegetarians, ovo vegetarians, lacto-ovo vegetarians, pollotarians, pescatarians and flexitarians. Yes, there are many categories, but what about the different shades within vegetarianism as a whole? How about forgetting categories and just accepting that there are many shades of vegetarianism and how you colour them in your life is up to you?
To be very honest, we don’t give a shit about whether you eat yogurt or eggs and you shouldn’t give a shit about what other people do either. The thing to care about is that YOU are doing something: that you’ve gone from eating meat everyday, to three times a week. Or maybe you’ve gone vegetarian but can’t give up dairy, so instead, you’ve planted flowers that attract more bees to your garden. The overall point is: do what’s best for you, only judge yourself and let others do the same.
When it comes to the environment, unfortunately some people will never be happy with the effort you put in and that kind of attitude is a barrier to getting more people caring about it. But if you ever feel judged, remember, it’s their own issues they’re projecting on you. They’re probably frustrated because they feel like they’re owed something for the sacrifices they’re making. They’re pissed that they’ve given up so much when others give up so little. We get it, but that’s not why you make eco changes in your life. You do it because you want to, regardless of what everyone else does.
There will always be ignorant, lazy people who don’t care about the future of this incredible place we call home. There will always be people who could be doing more, but will never get around to it. The only thing you can control is your life and gently nudge the people around you. Not to do things the way you want them done, but to encourage them in a way that works for them. After all, there are many shades of everything, and that’s ok.