Convincing Skeptics to go Green
Green products or lifestyle choices are often characterized as something for a very certain sort of person, with specific priorities and inclinations, rather than for everyone. This makes things complicated. Introducing someone to an eco-friendly lifestyle can sometimes feel like lecturing on top of a soapbox, and no one enjoys being talked down to. In order to get more people on the eco-friendly bandwagon, talking about sustainability and the environment needs to come from a place of compassion and support. Here’s how to get your skeptical family and friends to turn over a new leaf.
A lot of unsustainable behaviors are deeply baked into culture and everyday life. Disposable coffee filters are the norm in the U.S., but put strain on resources in the same way a disposable plastic product does; trees still need to be cut down, processed into paper, and shipped to a grocery store, with the sole purpose of being used once before being casually thrown away. Switching to re-usable alternatives are a fantastic way to break out of that cycle, and if you’ve already made the switch to reusable grocery bags, it won’t be a major change for you.
However, for those just beginning to make efforts like this, the sacrifice of convenience can be the deal breaker. Instead of buying more coffee filters when you run out, now there is a daily and monthly cleaning regimen. Cleaning out coffee grounds means you are confronted with the waste you produce, rather than being able to put it out of sight, out of mind. This is usually where someone just starting to live sustainably falls off the wagon. It’s all about breaking bad habits and adjusting to a new lifestyle, and that can be difficult!
If you know someone who is struggling like this, the best thing you can do is offer your support and knowledge in a non-judgmental way. Everyone starts somewhere, and you were a beginner once too. Giving your family member or friend the benefit of the doubt and working with them to break bad habits fosters community, and ultimately will encourage them to engage more, knowing they are welcomed and included. Here’s a few ways to get a newcomer to the zero waste lifestyle involved and interested.
Pledge to complete a challenge together
If your friend wants to do a trash audit, but doesn’t know if they can stick with it, offer to do it with them! Keep each other on track by doing daily or weekly check ins. It’s also a great excuse to chat and keep in touch about what you’re noticing! What sort of trash do you throw out the most? How much of your budget is going to disposables, or food waste? (Hint: Our coffee filters have a discount code for this very situation... check out the store page for details).
Get incentive programs going at your work
Having a reward in place for sustainable behaviors, like biking to work or participating in volunteer work, can be a great way to get your coworkers invested in making green life choices. Step up to coordinate events if you can! It will lead to a more environmentally conscious workplace.
Offer your resources
If you have access to something others don’t, make it available! If you have a yard and compost bin, offer to take the scraps of your friends who don’t or can’t have one. If you have accumulated a library about the environment, lend books out to those who are interested. Have solar panels? Talk to others about any challenges you ran into getting them installed, and how to solve problems that arise.
The best way to help others get informed is to be informed yourself. Keep learning about ways to live sustainably, including issues that might keep someone from making eco-friendly choices, and find new ways to make the place you live a little greener.
It will take all of us to get out of the climate change mess we are in. By supporting those around you with making steps to reduce their carbon footprint and live a little greener, you are helping build a community that is deeply involved with its own sustainability and future.
We would love to see what you are up to! Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Tiktok with your projects and efforts, as well as if you have any tips for getting friends and family to engage with eco-friendly lifestyles!