Increase Environmental Awareness Without Alienating Your Peers
For some environmental advocates, the motto for saving the environment is "go hard or go home. If you want to live a eco-friendly lifestyle, you better become a vegan, recycle every item you use, ride your bike everywhere, and sport an expensive grocery bill of only local, organic produce. Did I mention you have to start doing all of this on the same day? All the requirements for becoming environmentally friendly, deemed necessary by the critics of agribusiness and wasteful consumption, seem unattainable to most. However, many environmental advocates fail to realize that the movement to save Mother Nature and her resources MUST be a gradual one. If we begin to look down and ridicule those who don't follow in our footsteps, we may alienate them forever. Here are some simple ways to encourage environmental activism without deterring others from joining the green movement.
Practice What You Preach: Preach in Moderation
In any movement or effort, it is important to increase awareness among those around you. However, the way you spread the word can make or break the possibility that anyone will heed your advice. If you are the guy donning a recycle t-shirt, patrolling the cafeteria to see if anyone is putting recyclable plastics in the trash can, people will probably think you take yourself a little too seriously. Rather, ask your school newspaper or the human resources department at the office if you can send out a weekly environmental update. In the update or email, you can include ways to be "greener" at your office or school. Congratulate your peers for making an effort to recycle more, choosing environmentally friendly cuisine options at the cafeteria, or even turning off the lights after using the bathroom. Also, include updates on how the institution can take gradual steps towards decreasing the size of its carbon footprint. This example of increasing awareness is less invasive, but it can still change people's behavior!
Encourage Small Steps Toward an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle
You may be a vegan or vegetarian, but your friends and family probably think of this as a ridiculous life-style change. It may be impossible to convince your dad to give up those short-ribs forever. However, within your friends and family, you can promote a "less-meaty" lifestyle. Try cooking a meat-free meal once a week for your family. Explain to them that eating one meal without meat can save thousands of miles of gas (required for transportation of meat products). In fact, one meatless meal is like taking 5 million cars off the road for a day! This general information may inspire your friends and family to take further steps to protect the environment. Also, encourage other efforts like recycling, carpooling, and buying from local farmers' markets. However, remember that your people may not be able to do all of this at once. Be slow to incorporate changes. Again, congratulate your family members on trying to change! If they feel like their efforts are futile, they may be quick to lose momentum and dedication towards an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Get Involved in Local Initiatives
If you want to make a change on a larger scale, get in touch with your city-government's green initiatives. It may be fulfilling to volunteer your time towards your city's programs. That way you will stay updated on what needs to be done. This can fuel some ideas for your weekly environmental update at school or work!
This guest post is contributed by Kitty Holman, who writes on the topics of nursing colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: email@example.com.