Unsociability: a Low Impact Lifestyle

Here’s a confession: in real life, I’m notoriously unsocial. I can’t be guilt-tripped, wheedled, or coerced into attending funerals, weddings, parties, or anything else remotely social — unless I really, really like you. There are maybe five people in the world whose social events I would willingly attend. Oddly enough, my antisocial tendencies have led to most of my ‘green’ traits. Because I’m not a huge fan of humans,

  • I feel a lot of empathy for animals and thus am a vegetarian
  • I feel really bad for the species we’re wiping out and thus am an environmentalist (what, did you think I was in it for the people?)
  • I don’t like humans enough to want kids
  • I don’t like most humans enough to shop for, party with, or travel to see them.

See? It’s actually pretty easy to be green if you don’t like human interaction. Maybe this blog should be titled ‘The Green Misanthrope.’ Anyway, the point is, I’m constantly seeing articles about low impact versions of things that, in my mind, are totally unnecessary to start with. Like weddings. Sure, you can go for the local organic flowers, biodegradable dress, and fair trade diamond. But you know what? Kevin and I carpooled to the county courthouse in his fuel efficient Honda Civic. There was no dress, no flowers, no out of town guests, no DJ, no photographers, no napkins, no diamonds, no registries. The only way it could have been greener is if we walked to the courthouse.

The same thing goes for any sort of big social celebration. I just don’t get parties. While other environmentalists are scrambling to get electric grills, grass-fed beef, recycled napkins, and all natural charcoal for this 4th of July, I’m kicking back at home and chomping salad in pure, unpatriotic — yet undeniably low impact — unsociability. Score.


10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Emily on 07/01/2010 at 20:43

    If blogs had a “like” button, I’d click it.

    “Like” for alternative/nonconforming lifestyles and “like” for being environmental the best way you know how.


  2. […] think I had a choice to sit it out. I do. So do you. The price is seeming ungracious, unsociable, and disrespectful of tradition. The results are not trashing the planet with unnecessary […]


  3. […] Unsociability: a low impact lifestyle […]


  4. Posted by Jennifer on 08/21/2011 at 14:24

    Yes! This sums me up in an almost eerie manner. So eerie that I had to reply; usually, my unsocial tendencies prevent me from participating in any kind of online interactions.

    Looking forward to further perusing your thoughts!


    • Heh. Glad it struck a chord with you! To my surprise, I’ve come across several unsociable, environmentally minded Jennifers through my blog. Join the non-club!


  5. Love it. Thanks for the link on The Eco Cat Lady Speaks.

    I rarely leave the house on non-work days. I get enough of people on the job. And I avoid social events like the plague. Making small talk is worse than having a tooth pulled without Novocaine.


    • Hi EcoCatWoman,

      Totally agree about the small talk. One of those weird, unnecessary, and pointless human rituals I don’t get. I can do social with one, maybe two other people. If the group gets much bigger than that or involves people I haven’t known for 10 years, then I sort of shut down.


  6. Posted by Desiderata on 06/30/2012 at 17:44

    I also found you via the Eco Cat Lady Speaks blog.

    I am so much the same way. We also did the courthouse marriage vows 21 years ago and I wouldn’t change a thing 🙂

    I have to comment on the above comment about not leaving the house on non-work days – ME TOO! I also avoid social events like the plague. For years, my husband’s co-workers joked that he was married to The Invisible Woman :-/ LOL


    • Hi Desiderata,

      Hah! I’m known as Kevin’s imaginary wife to his parents, who have never met me (we’ve been married almost three years). I tend to be a shut in on off days as well. If I go anywhere, it’s most likely to go on a hike by myself or visit lonely rescue cats (no human contact involved).


  7. Posted by Adam on 07/06/2012 at 22:33

    You raise a good point, but I want to bring up the elephant in the room. Namely, you also reduce your environmental impact by making the not unsociable choice of living with your husband rather than alone. (I’m assuming you live together. If not, add the word “could” in the appropriate place. And of course, it could be living with anybody else.)

    More generally, there are certain types of consumption which are unavoidable but which can be reduced by sharing with one or more other people. Examples of this are home energy consumption, ridesharing, and cooking energy. To the extent that social behavior encourages this kind of pooling, it can be green. However, beyond a certain level, as you point out, being sociable encourages all sorts of unnecessary consumption.

    For what it’s worth, I say this all as the ungreenest kind of unsocialite. I live alone and I’ll hop on a cross-country flight for my brother’s wedding.


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