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Why should I have to justify?

Why do we greenies have to carry the burden of proof? Just because we believe in something does that mean we have to have all the answers? Miyuki McGuffie ponders this and more after a co-worker questions her most recent ethical challenge.

They say empty cans rattle the most … and they sure do make a lot of noise. Miyuki McGuffie discovers this when a co-worker questions the legitimacy of her most recent ethical challenge

Image by Flawka

Being green attracts its fair share of criticism. Some people don’t believe that climate change is caused by human activity, others dispute the efficacy of recycling. But what can you do when that criticism gets personal, is relentless and borders on bullying?

About four weeks ago a weekend in Napier saw me relapse into my old ways of eating (unconscientiously) and prompted me to make a real commitment about my diet: I decided to go vegan. Excited about this pledge, I told everyone I was with at the time (three co-workers) and announced it on my blog that night.

While most people around me have been helpful, one co-worker gave me grief at every opportunity. Everything I did, from eating bread (with yeast) to wearing leather shoes (bought pre-vegan) was a chance for him to have his piece, and some fun at my expense.

I think I’m a pretty good-natured gal and can take a bit of stick now and then, but this was getting on my nerves. Here I am, doing something positive for myself and the world around me and all I was getting? Lip. Of course I was being supported too, but this chef was drowning out any positivity I was hearing on the matter.

Why do we greenies have to carry the burden of proof? Just because we believe in something does that mean we have to have all the answers? Because that’s often what it feels like.

I guess my replies of exasperated expletives must have got the message across, because in the end he offered me his hand to shake and initiate a truce. Which I was glad for because I actually like this guy when he’s not tearing up my values every chance he gets.

This situation brings up a good point.

Why do we greenies have to carry the burden of proof? Why does it seem to be the default to not care about the environment, animal welfare or ethical sources? Just because we believe in something, does that mean we have to have all the answers? Because that’s often what it feels like.

It’s especially frustrating to have to explain oneself to someone who, for want of a better term, doesn’t give a shit. I find the thought process of a person who wants to bring someone down for doing something good, especially when it doesn’t directly affect them (like veganism), a hard one to follow. But I have realised, just now as I write this, that this ordeal has taught me something.

I am a whole-hearted believer in science, which means that I am very sceptical when it comes to certain issues, like religion. While I would never purposely get in anyone’s face about these topics, I am happy to share my thoughts when asked. So I guess what I’ve learned is to take it easy! We’re not all going to think the same thing but that is one of the beauties of life, supposedly.

I haven’t really answered the question of what to do in this situation, but I’ve shared, and I suppose that is one thing you can do. Commiserate with your fellow eco-friends and hope for the world to change, or at least give you a break.

Any suggestions on what do to or say to these persistent nay-sayers are most welcome!

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