If you have already made the conscious choice to be eco-friendly and enjoy the benefits of natural living, it’s hard not to have the itch to help share your interest in the environment with your friends and family. To “convert” someone to the mindset of going green, here are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.
Don’t be Preachy
Nobody likes to be preached to. Instead of motivating somebody to go green by telling them all of the harm that is being done to the environment, focus on the positive side of what one person can do to make a difference. Instead of taking a stand against something, be “for” something. Pick out one simple suggestion to give them some green momentum, and elaborate on why it’s a game-changer. Take recycling for example. Why do you recycle? Share that with them, and help them understand how easy it is to get started.
What Will They Get Out of It?
You’re selling a new world view to the uninitiated. It’s hard to have the interest or desire to change habits and opinions without first knowing what the reward will be. It’s going to be your job to point out a few benefits that your loved one will get out of going green and being more earth conscious. For many, cost savings can be enough of a motivator to get them to change their actions. Relate to your friends or family the long-term savings of simply changing out energy-sucking light bulbs in their home for CFL bulbs that are more energy and cost efficient. Or, help them understand the health benefits of walking or biking to some of their destinations instead of always driving so they can lessen their carbon footprint.
Suggest some alternatives. Everyone (including you) started somewhere. Whereas some people can make a switch to a completely different set of habits all at once, most people need to make smaller steps or even one simple step at a time. Give your loved one some ideas of simple choices to make. It may be something as small and simple as changing their laundry detergent to a more natural and healthier alternative. Once they can “feel safe” about the results of some small change, they are more apt to making additional changes towards being more eco-friendly.
Be an Example
Sometimes it’s not so much verbally sharing your depth of knowledge and passion of being environmentally friendly as much as it is showing it through your lifestyle habits and activities. If you do something environmentally friendly that is a little peculiar but cool, your friends and family might just ask you about it on their own accord. That is the best time to share. Once somebody takes notice of your good example, it’s much easier and more comfortable for you to begin sharing how and why the eco-friendly lifestyle makes sense.
Following the above steps gives you the best chance to win converts to the green way of living. Being non-combative and a helpful resource to go to when people have questions about the transition to going green will give you a lot more mileage in the long run.
[About the author: Amber Merton is a green living advocate and a health and fitness aficionado. She also writes for the natural latex mattress manufacturer and retailer, www.Plushbeds.com. Image: tracitodd]