Green Living Tip: Quit Being an Annoying Tree Hugger

Some people find tree huggers hyper annoying, even when they’re not. How come? Because some green individuals make a bad name for all of us. It’s like that video I posted earlier. While hilarious, it’s also very true. I know so many people like that.

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Image © Marina Zlochin

This is frustrating because I do believe in green living. I think living green is healthy for your family, the planet and it’s a worthwhile endeavor.  When I hear people say, “Hey tree huggers are so annoying!” yeah, it’s frustrating, but I also see why they say this.

Annoying tree huggers with an, “I’m so much better than you” mindset drive me batty. They make me look bad, they make my green pals look bad and worst of all they make the entire green movement look lame.

You might be greener than your friends. You might recycle better than anyone else you know. You may buy organic, skip BPA, plant trees, use cloth diapers and take any number of awesome green actions to improve the world. Still, if you’re annoying about it, you’re offsetting your good intentions. No one will see the good you do if your better than you attitude takes center stage.

It’s like people who over-preach religion or find a little too much success with AA or some other group. They not only talk about it 24/7 but they act like they’re the only ones who have ever accomplished something decent or new. Just like  church folks can make you want to run screaming away from the church, so can an overzealous eco-individual make you hate green issues.

The worst part:

When someone is new to something, like green living, they deserve and need, friendly, helpful advice. They don’t need criticism or force or the fact that you rock shoved in their face. Being annoying is never a good way to convince others that eco-friendly is the way to go.

Am I guilty of being an annoying tree hugger….?

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Image © Wolfgang Kraus

Well, it’s hard to judge yourself fairly. To be honest, inside I seethe about some issues. For example, it makes me nuts when people complain that healthy, greener foods cost more so they buy junk and fast food. I HATE seeing parents buy toxic soaps for their kids, even when I’ve said, “Hey, that’s full of chemicals!” When I see families use bleach on kids toys or meet parents who have raised their kids on a hearty diet of screen time 24/7, yeah it 100% bugs me.

Still, unless it comes up or it’s someone I know really well, I don’t tend to spout off – I keep the feelings inside. I’m a talker huge debater, so sure, I could say something but usually I don’t because I know me. I could get really hyper annoying. I’d rather play it safe. Also, and this is key – I’m far from perfectly green. I try. In fact, often I try really hard, but I could do better and I downright suck at some green living practices.

All-in-all, I’m pretty sure that my friends and strangers will be more receptive to green living if I’m nice about it and not preachy or lame.

What do you think? Are you overly preachy about green living? Do you ever run into folks who are?

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  1. Vali says

    Jennifer, I just wanted to tell you that I don’t find you annoying at all. You are both passionate and honest about your desire to live a greener, healthier lifestyle and obviously care about aiding others to do the same. I read your blog daily and you are always an inspiration to me. Here in the deep-fried land of North Carolina, the green movement is slow going, so its nice to have a place to come and read about others endeavors. Thank you for all that you do!

  2. Jennifer Chait says

    @Vali – I’m glad I don’t annoy you – it must be frustrating to live in a less green area. I’m totally spoiled living here in PDX. I remember what it was like in New Mexico though (almost no recycling) it was a bummer. Thanks for reading and thanks so much for your comment :)

  3. Brenna @ Almost All The Truth says

    I probably swing both ways, part of my duplicitous Gemini nature. 😉 Most of the time if I become annoying it is born out of frustration. Then I always try to counter it with something less… tree hugger-like. I am in a hyper frustrated mode right now and trying to find the balance between preachy and staying true to my principles. I guess it is what is most effective that should win out at the end of the day, right?

  4. Jennifer Chait says

    I think I used to swing more both ways myself. I’ve toned down over the years as I’ve realized eco-minded people are few and far. There are so many people who think organics are a scam and global warming is false – it amazes me. People just don’t seem to care about green issues, so some of me has given up I think. I try to write (and speak) for those who seem somewhat already on board, because my life is hectic enough without having to convert total non-believers. It is hard to find that balance you speak of though.

  5. Missy says

    well… there’s “preachy” and then there’s “we’re so correct that we need everyone else to agree with our point of view or they’re amazingly stupid”. I think what we need to be careful of is to avoid forcing our views down other people’s throats. The mindset that we need to convert everyone else in the world is what folks find so annoying.


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