Back in November I attended the One-of-a-Kind trade show in Toronto, an etsy inspired crafter’s paradise with inventive, quaint pieces lovingly constructed by artists, hobbyists and work at home moms.  I perused aisle after aisle with Tess in her sling, a self-righteous, baby-wearing mother determined to shop locally for Christmas gifts this year.  I was a crusader.  A hip eco-mama.  An individual who refuses to eat the mass market bs from evil corporate America.  Best of all, the place was abound with like-minded women and men… I wanted to unite with my comrades and start the revolution.

Until I saw the boots.  She was a gorgeous, 5’11” goddess with her baby strapped to her back and her boots were to die for.  I looked closer to see designer labels.  Then I reflected on my designer boots, bag and hat.  Then I looked back at my poor husband navigating the show with our way-too-expensive stroller filled with items I had consumed that day.  I also considered the hour drive to the convention centre in our SUV.  Whoops.

I think there is a bit of contradiction in all of us.  Like that woman we see in the bookstore trying to juggle her copy of Adbusters with her Starbucks latte and Louis Vuitton handbag.  I preach sustainable practices but I own a Coach purse.  I take public transit but also take epic showers.  But hey, even Al Gore and David Suzuki consume thousands of miles in air travel.  I’m sure there are very few out there without some innocent hypocritical tendencies.

I maintain that you can’t blame us for trying.  The problem with much of the environmental movement is that it is elitist.  The average do-gooder is intimidated by the one per cent of the population leading the movement that judges us for not being able to recite the intricacies surrounding the science of climate change.  They speak in jargon that is out of reach for the majority of the population.  This is unfortunate because without the masses there is little that these leaders will be able to accomplish.

This leaves us to figure things out on our own, and take it upon ourselves to do what we think is the right thing.  We are not hypocrites if we constantly educate ourselves on the impact that our decisions have on the world around us– rather, we are evolving.  Consider how big recycling became when the general population grew to understand the limits on landfill space.  Then, when we understood the resources involved in recycling we sought to divert some of our waste through compost and/or organics collection.  Now we understand that is probably best not to generate waste in the first place and we should limit consumption or at least choose the vendor with the smallest environmental footprint.  As a society, our understanding of the consequences associated with our decisions is constantly evolving.  This evolution is changing the way we get around, eat, and power our lifestyles.  And meaningful change is out of reach unless the majority is on board.

Maybe my next handbag will be homespun from local, organically grown wool.  Then again, I hear Coach is having a massive clearance sale…

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