Taking it Too Far – Can You Be Too Green?

Going green is a very beneficial thing to do for the environment. It’s a great way to feel better about yourself and to know that you are living responsibility and diminishing the role you play in global warming. It’s also a great way to learn about the way the world works and about science, and to feel proud that you are working alongside the planet in order to achieve a more symbiotic existence. And then of course there are the financial benefits of being able to save energy and reduce waste – all of it is highly attractive.

But how far do you take it? Is it possible to go green to an unhealthy level? Can you be too green?


Of course if you truly wanted to go green and you wanted to reduce your carbon footprint to absolute zero you would have to go off of the grid and turn your back on many modern conveniences. Civilization would have to take a huge step backwards and we’d have to go back to living like cavemen – but eco conscious cavemen who didn’t start fires and who only hunted in already over-populated areas. That would be considered going green to an unhealthy degree by many people.

Fortunately not many people have taken it this far, but there are some other rather large sacrifices that can be made in the name of going green. Some individuals for instance will forgo washing their clothes with detergent and washing machines and that means that all their clothes are hand washed under the tap. This can end up as an example of being too green if it means that their clothes are hard and crispy and if it means that they end up smelling as a result – as this would be quite unpleasant for others and stymie their career progress and relationships.

Many people in an attempt to go green also end up avoiding doing things that they might otherwise enjoy. For instance they might not watch television (or even own one) to prevent power usage, or they may not make any long flights abroad for holidays. While the sentiment is very positive and to be commended, if it is standing in the way of your happiness then you have perhaps taken it to the point of martyrdom. The difference you’d make to the environment this way would be very small, but the difference to your life would be great. A more measured approach might be to get solar panels to power that television, to avoid using the standby button, and to carry less luggage onto the plane.

The more common mistake that people trying to go green make though is to become too evangelical and to try and enforce their views on everyone else. This can very quickly become frustrating for those having to listen, but worse it can also put people off of going green.

A government can be ‘too green’ as well in some ways. For instance policies in which the government enforce certain behaviors on the general public could be considered too green. Some governments use electronic chips in bins for instance that sense the contents – and this means that bins will only be emptied if they contain only the right rubbish (no recycling in the general bin and vice versa).


Of course what we consider as ‘too green’ will obviously vary from person to person, and if you want to forgo television and washing machines that’s up to you. What you think is too green or ‘over the top’ might be perfectly acceptable to someone else. It’s about finding a level that is acceptable to your way of live – but at the same time you need to remember the impact that it has on others around you – and you need to think about your own happiness as that’s pretty important too.


  1. I don’t think that someone can become too green? I mean, what does too green means? And if this could happen, I think it is much better to be too green than not to be green at all. Going green is indeed something good for the environment and for the pocket and yes, for your own conscience. So, start being green people!

  2. You said many people in attempt to go green they avoid to do things they enjoy. I don’t think watching TV is something so enjoying. I don’t like so much this activity. I rather prefer to stay outside, take a walk etc. These activities are not only activities that make you go green, but they are good for yourself too.

  3. I don’t agree with this idea of ‘too green’. I agree with Yao that is much better to exaggerate and become too green than to not even know what going green means. And if everybody is too green, I don’t think that will be a problem. Nowadays, we do need people who would do anything to protect de environment. People which are using in a responsible way the resources we have left.

  4. I too think watching TV is not so great. You are not making a sacrifice buy not watching TV. Anyway TVs are something bad. You don’t even have what to learn from them. So, if going green would mean not watching TV I would really be too green because I’m not watching to television at all.

  5. I don’t think you can be too green. People which avoid doing different things are doing this because that is what they want. I don’t think those people who avoid watching TV, do this against their will. This is what they want to do. Not watching TV is much healthier anyway. So, those people are not too green, they are just doing things which they consider to be much better for them.

    1. You can not be too green. I am sure of this. We want to have a better earth for our kids so we need to do all we can to make it this way. Limit the amount of time you use electrics and take your bike instead of the car. These are all great ways to get green.

  6. I have never thought of someone as being too green. I did not think it was possible. I never knew though about the chips that they are putting in the bins. Some people do not care and would throw anything away in them. And it is not really fair to punish the ones that do care by not emptying the garbage away.

  7. I too think that ‘too green’ varies from a person to another. What you consider too green, another person may accept very easy. Too green isn’t something that has a definition. So, I don’t think that ‘too green’ really exists. Or it is something relative.

  8. I simply don’t think a person can be too green. If someone decides to start going green it will know what to do and what things to avoid.
    And I don’t think there exists a greenmeter to measure the quantity of green. So we cannot know if someone is or not too green
    And the most important thing is people to realize how much good they would do if they were to start going green.

  9. I do not see how you can think anyone would be too green. Ok not picking up a bin is not a good idea. But if everyone did their part we would not have people who over did the green aspect. So please do your part.

  10. Unfortunately, there are people taking it too far. So I’ll use “YES” to answer to “can you be too green?”. You should go as green as you need and want. But don’t force other people to do that as well. You can’t do more than trying to explain the benefits of going green.

  11. You definitely can not be too green. There is no human being taking it too far. It’s impossible. It’s in our blood to be sinful. Maybe in the next 50-100 years, we will know what being too green means. At the moment, there’s no such thing.

  12. Many people should think more about going green. I don’t think it is possible to be too green. And even if this is possible, too green is not something bad. Than not be green at all, it is better to be too green. Interesting judgment, right? 😀

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