I’m passionate about helping people to live an eco friendly life – it’s what we do at Nigel’s Eco Store – so I spend a lot of time talking about the different ways everyday people can reduce their impact on the planet. Generally I find that people are truly interested. Green living is becoming more mainstream as we accept the fact that the earth’s resources are finite, and that it’s in our best interest to use them wisely.
But sometimes I get a disinterested reaction. I’m in the middle of a waxing lyrical about some amazing new solar gadget or energy saving device, and I see eyes glazing over and muffled yawns. I realize I’ve lost my audience, and I’m in danger of turning someone off to a greener lifestyle for good.
Here are some strategies I’ve developed to help even the most disinterested person become become engaged and enthusiastic about living greener…and without lecturing them or coming across as a killjoy. Got any green charm offensive tactics yourself? I’d love to hear about them, let me know in the comments.
It’s about community, not clubs
Living a lower impact lifestyle is about being a member of a community, and thinking about how your actions affects the world we all live in. But if you are new to green living, it could seem like some kind of exclusive society, with lots of confusing rules and jargon — but it isn’t. Don’t put someone off recycling for good by giving them a hard time for mixing up their plastics. Instead give them a thumbs up, and give them a handy guide to the different recycling symbols.
Don’t make people feel guilty
Guilt can be a great motivator, but if you want to convince friends and co-workers to make changes and become more sustainable, then a positive outlook will keep them on the green path for the long term. After all, eco-snobbery sucks, you know. Oftentimes, greener choices just make more sense. Not wasting resources saves us money in the long term, both on a domestic and a global scale, as well as being better for our environment.
Saving energy is highly addictive!
The satisfaction that comes with using energy efficiently, and saving yourself some cash, can be habit forming. It just takes that initial first step to get into it. I love people’s reaction when I tell them turning their thermostat down by just one degree can reduce their heating bill by 10%. If you don’t believe me, try it! A bit of extra money in your pocket is a great incentive to use less energy.
It’s not about what you don’t do
Of course we can all do more. But if you celebrate the positive steps that your friends and co-workers have made to live a low impact life, they’ll be inspired to go further by all by themselves.