Most environmentalists know of someone: a friend, loved one, neighbor, who just doesn’t care to live green. These aren’t bad people. They just have a different point of view from ours and for some reason or other, don’t see the point to living green. In their eyes living green is a burden and unnecessary. In their eyes scientific reports are not proof, but scare tactics used by political parties to get voters to change their votes. So, how does an environmentalist open up their friend’s mind to a greener way of life?
Money: We live in a society where money talks. Don’t be angry about it and don’t ignore this. Use it to your advantage. If you want to convince someone that green is better than you need to show them how much green it can make them in the process.
Look for recycling programs that pay for recyclable material. There are plenty of these and they are growing in popularity. Show your findings to your most frugal non-green friend. Once you show him the money he can make, even if it is just a few dollars, he will look at recycling in a whole other way and see it more of a benefit than a burden. Keep in mind the more convenient the program is the better it will be to convince someone to recycle.
Magic of solar power. Show your friend how convenient and money saving, especially on the electric bill, solar power can be. You don’t have to start with solar panels either. These are expensive, huge and take years to pay off. Start with something smaller: solar lights, solar toys, solar experiment kits, etc. These smaller solar powered products are fun to watch power up and after the initial purchase they cost nothing to keep going.
Free stuff. Introduce your friends to organizations such as: Freecycle and Craigslist where your loved one can post want ads in their local area for items they want and offers for items they no longer want. Swap meets are another alternative. At swap meets people swap old items (books, clothes, computer parts) for new used items and its all for free. Newspapers and listings online and in print also have a free stuff section where your friend can give or receive free stuff. It saves money and is environmentally friendly.
Green gifts. Birthdays, anniversary and holiday celebrations are often celebrated with gifts. Buy your friend green gifts, but be logical. When I mention green gift I don’t mean buy someone green laundry detergent. Opt instead for fun, useable gifts for your friend. For example, solar powered gifts or fashionable accessories made out of recycled material are useable and fun. Organic treats (chocolates, fruits, etc.) are also a good idea. Your friend will taste the delicious difference.
If buying eco-gifts is out of the budget make and give homemade environmentally friendly gifts a try. Homemade soaps, quilts, art, accessories are all ideal, especially if you have a talent for crafts.
Lead by example. Live your life green. Make your home a green home. Turn your yard into a green garden. Buy what green you can afford. Show your friend that living green isn’t a difficult and he thinks. It just takes some getting use to. Change always does.
Don’ts: Don’t overwhelm your friend. Introduce him to your green life slowly. If he take to eating organic better than recycling that’s okay. Let him eat organic. Eventually he may recycle too. If not, at least he is eating organically which is more than he was doing yesterday and it’s healthier for him too.
Don’t be annoying or pushy. This just never works. Pushing and preaching to your friend to go green or to do anything is a bad idea. No one likes to be forced to do anything. Do you? Besides can you really force someone to go green?
Keep living green. In the end, even if your friend still doesn’t see a need to live green. Feel good and take pride in the thought that at least you are doing your part.