We've heard the story before. You decide to make lifestyle changes because you want to become more eco-conscious, but your family and friends aren't as diligent to jump on board. How are you supposed to be environmentally friendly if the people around you aren't interested? While it can be hard to navigate the waters of this much-needed conversation, we've found some ways to spread the message about climate change without sounding like a total asshole.
Photo by Elijah O'Donnell
TAKE BABY STEPS
We want them to join the movement, but before that can happen, they need to understand the reasons behind your lifestyle changes. How do you explain this without feeling like you're forcefully dragging them along? For starters, telling them why you're doing something is different than telling them what to do. Doing this in such manner will plant the seed, which can lead to change in others.
However, some people may be imperviable to eco-friendly changes simply because it's discomforting to learn that they've been doing something the wrong way. That's entirely normal! Breaking up with a bad habit is hard. We become so accustomed to doing something a certain way that changing it can often feel like we're being told to change who we are, and people dislike that.
While it's encouraged to talk about why you've switched to eco-smart light bulbs or why you're doing Meatless Mondays, it's also necessary to back down if you sense resistance. People won't always be ready for that tough conversation. Just let your words soak in, and they'll come around.
Photo by Boxed Water
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
We've all heard the expression "actions speak louder than words". Well, leading through action is key to getting your family and friends on board the eco-train, and you'll discover that it's probably a lot more effective than giving out instructions or issuing commands.
Plus, curiosity is embedded into humans, so people will naturally ask you about the reusable produce bags you're using when you're grocery shopping or the vegetable patch you planted in your backyard. This paves the way for a non-confrontational discussion where you can inspire them to follow in your footsteps!
RESHAPE THE NARRATIVE
If you want others to adopt your new ways, then reframe your argument. Environmentalism has something that can benefit everyone, even if that something isn't "for the planet".
While a greenie might consume less meat to lower greenhouse gas emissions, someone else might do the same for their health. While someone who loves the environment might use a bicycle to reduce air pollution, another might do it to save some money on fuel.
Some of the best ways to approach eco-friendly changes is indirectly, because you're focusing on the personal aspect, making it about them and not the Earth. Find that point of connection that they can relate to, and it will open up the door to a conversation that they may otherwise not have been interested in having.
Photo by Alexis Antoine
PICK YOUR BATTLES
Don't exhaust yourself trying to find ways of persuading everyone to become an environmental activist. Yes, it would be the ideal outcome. No, it can't realistically be done. Instead, shifting your focus on what you can do to better yourself boasts a bigger impact than you might think.
Ultimately, it's not easy trying to turn your family and friends into Earth warriors, but practicing what you preach makes a world of difference, and we hope that this read can serve as a tool to guide the way.