Guest Post By: Madison Adams
Unfortunately, there’s no doubt that the environment is changing… and not necessarily for the better. Heat waves, cold fronts, and CO2 levels are increasing all over the world, and the Earth’s heat-repelling ice is melting. It’s becoming more important than ever that every citizen of the Earth make a noticeable effort to reduce their impact on the planet.
Daily efforts to reduce your personal impact, no matter how small, are what are going to make the biggest difference in the long run. Part of these efforts include making sure that you are telling your friends about the little ways they can help the planet too.
Start a Discussion
Your friends trust and respect you more than a random website or government initiative. When it comes to having a conversation about changing habits and lifestyle, sensitivity and kindness are paramount for making the conversation productive.
You need to put yourself into the shoes of the person you are approaching and remember how you felt when you learned some of your long-term habits were bad for the planet. Depending on the person, they could feel attacked if you tell them they use too much water to brush their teeth, so thoughtfulness is key. Most importantly though, make sure you’re actually having a conversation with them, not just hurling commands and criticisms at them.
Emphasizing how you also have learned a lot about your habits and your experiences changing them is a great way to make the other person feel less intimidated and more responsive. Also mentioning steps that you and your friends(s) can take together to become greener is a great way to create inclusion.
It’s a lot easier to make changes and stick to them when you have a group to keep you accountable. For example, teaming up with a few of your coworkers and carpooling has numerous benefits, namely group accountability. If you all agree to travel together, the whole group profits from reduced gas prices, time saving (since your travel time has now become workable if you’re not the one driving), in addition to reducing emissions.
On a bigger scale, the more people that share a car, the fewer cars there are on the road, thus reducing traffic. Most importantly though, it helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which are to blame for atmospheric warming.
According to the United States EPA, from 1990 to 2015, there was a shocking in the atmosphere. The planet cannot sustain this rate of increase, and helping to minimize the number of cars on the road is an effective place to start.
If carpooling isn’t an option for you and friends, find activities that are both fun and teach you about sustainability. Suggesting something like going to the local farmers’ market on the weekend to buy produce is a good way to mix things up and do something good for the planet.
Most people don’t think about how their food requires transportation, so reducing that distance as much as possible helps eliminate the environmental impact. If you go, make sure to bring reusable bags instead of plastic!
Many environmentally-aware people are shifting , like paper and fabric, because it has a faster growth time, thus it is more sustainable. Hemp bags and clothing are rising in popularity, both for their style and durability and are a great way for you and your friends to stand out while being environmentally conscious.
Finding can also be a challenging project to do together. More minds are going to yield more ideas! For example, replacing plastic cups with glass jars that are reused from other products (like salsa jars) can be a fun way to see who can be the most creative.
It Takes Time
Finally, reassuring your friends that all of their lifestyle changes don’t have to be immediate is essential. It can take months to phase out old habits and products and replace them with new ones, but baby steps are better than nothing.
One key thing to remember, though, is that being an example to your friends of sustainability is the best way to help change their habits. A good role model never hurts; and who knows, maybe your friends will end up selling their belongings and moving into a tiny house… all because you decided to talk to them about sustainability.