Although you may hold strong beliefs about living a greener life, your relatives, friends and neighbors may not share your passion. Living sustainably requires some extra effort, but it isn't as burdensome as some might imagine. How can you persuade others to live green without sounding preachy?
Broaching the Subject
It might be tempting to start spouting statistics about how devastating human impact can be on the earth or insisting that Global Warming is real, but you should avoid lecturing and absolutely avoid bringing up politics. Instead, try leading by example. Mention how you've started recycling and how good that makes you feel, how much money you've saved on your electric bill or all the weight you've lost by walking or biking instead of driving. Now you've probably got your friend's attention, and she is likely to ask you a few questions about how you've accomplished such a feat. Focus on the positive: being green is rewarding because you know that you're helping to ensure that the world remains a beautiful and healthy place for your children and grandchildren.
Another way to persuade your friends and family to live green, is to give them green gifts. Some ideas include:
- reusable shopping bags
- DVD set of Planet Earth
- carbon offsets for frequent fliers
- solar powered laptop bag
- water purifier
- Plant-a-Tree or other green charity donation
- programmable thermostat
- water-conserving spa showerhead
Be Green, Save Green
Money is the great motivator. Explain to your friends and family that being "green" doesn't require giving up modern comforts. Instead, making subtle tweaks to one's lifestyle can go a long way towards improving the environment, while saving money in the process. Mention these green saving strategies:
- Some states allow you to return aluminum cans and glass bottles for a fee.
- Energy efficient appliances will pay for themselves over the course of a year or two.
- Carpooling and taking public transportation is much cheaper than the cost of gasoline.
Finally, you can convince your boss to implement office-wide green practices by reminding him how much money he'll save by limiting printing, asking employees to turn off computers and other equipment at the end of the work-day, and setting the thermostat a few degrees lower. You just might get that promotion, after all!
Greening Your Family
Though you may not be able to convince everyone you know to make the switch, you can get your family involved in sustainable practices at home. Set up a recycling bin and teach your kids how to separate plastics and paper. Turn it into a game and reward them for following the system. Institute a 'family night;' play outside, play board games, just don't spend the evening in front of the TV. Visit the local farmer's market together and purchase fruits and vegetables that were grown nearby and prepare meals several times a week without meat. Encourage family members to turn off the lights and other appliances when they leave a room. Plan a vacation and pay for it using all that money you saved by conserving energy.
After using these "green" tips and by setting an example for them to follow, you'll be able to persuade others in the community to live green in no time at all.