It’s easy for those who embrace green living to make changes toward more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyles. But most people – Americans especially – have a very difficult time accepting those changes. Ask the average American why they won’t do certain eco-friendly activities, and you’ll get a wide range of excuses, from “It costs too much” to “I’m just too lazy.” Trying to convince people of the benefits of, say, recycling their bottles, can be a fruitless endeavor, as the attitudes they have are usually well-ingrained. The old adage, “Actions speak louder than words,” rings very true here. Instead of telling them what to do, help them get the tools they need to start going green.
These tips may seem like common sense to you, but the average American has a lot of misconceptions.
1. Give your friend a bag.
Starting with your close friends is a good idea because you already have a certain level of trust built in. Give them a reusable shopping bag – like the Chico bag – as a gift, explain what it’s for, and encourage them to use it. Don’t mention “It’s Green!”
2. Water bottles are in.
Aside from being a new fashion statement, reusable water bottles from Sigg, Nalgene, and others help cut down on plastic waste. The BPH problem is no longer a factor with Nalgene, so make sure you tell your friend this. Remind them of the money savings, and carry yours with you everywhere.
3. Get your CFL on.
Compact Flourescent Lightbulbs are great. Buy a few for your friend, and show them that they emit light that looks just like normal tungsten lights, but at half the energy consumption.
4. Ride a bike.
Once you get a car, you tend to forget how much fun riding a bike is. Instead of saying you’re trying to save Mother Earth by riding, have your friend go for a ride with you. If they don’t have a bike, visit a flea market or search Craigslist for cheap or free ones. Start out with short rides, then move on to longer ones. Take a route that goes by your friend’s workplace and they should get the hint.
5. Take a trip to the Farmer’s Market.
These are becoming more popular in more places, and with good reason. Cheap, fresh, and many times organic. Cook dinner one night with a bunch of friends and tell them you got the ingredients from the farmer’s market. Invite everyone along next time.
There are hundreds of other ways to convince people to go green. The key is to not preach, but to practice. People don’t like to be lectured; they like to think they came to the decision on their own. So let your friend come to the green conclusion, while you work your magic behind the curtain.