Unless they’ve been living under a landfill pile for a long time, everyone is aware that the environment is in serious trouble and that changes must be made by all of us to turn this situation around and save our planet. One person can not do it alone. There are people in the world, who don’t care about what happens to the environment, but for the most part, people do care and they do want to help. The problem is that while exposure of environmental issues is at an all-time high, information about everyday things that people can do is sometimes harder to access. We need to spread this information far and wide for changes to be made.
Environmentalists do their part to inform the world; unfortunately some of the more hostile environmental activism groups have given the rest of us a bad name. The general public can sometimes feel accused and threatened by environmentalists trying to gain support for their cause and this is obviously counter productive. Some people are better than others at getting people to listen and consider new ideas so I have borrowed some of the practices I found them to have in common to make a list of tips for the environmentalist to help everyday people change their lives and make a positive difference to the state of the environment.
1. Educate yourself. The only way anyone can change another person’s opinion is if they know what they are talking about. Take the time to really investigate environmental issues and back yourself up with facts. It’s not enough to say that something is destroying the environment; you have to be able to tell people why and more importantly what the alternatives are.
2. Don’t preach and don’t act superior. This kind of attitude will just push people away instead of pulling them towards you.
3. Respect other’s opinions. If you’re in an environmental debate with someone, take the time to listen to their side of it too. If you don’t respect them enough to listen to their point of view, why would you expect them to listen to yours?
4. Choose the right times and places to speak about environmental issues. It isn’t always appropriate to launch into a speech about the negative effects of mercury or the benefits of solar powered energy.
5. Don’t get angry. Getting angry about environmental topics gives environmentalists everywhere a bad image and the rest of us don’t appreciate it. Being passionate about an issue is a great thing and it can be contagious, but hostility will get you nowhere in life.
6. Be positive. Have you ever heard about a problem from someone and they were just being so negative about the prospects that you wondered what the point of trying to solve it was? A defeatist attitude almost guarantees defeat and that attitude too can be contagious.
Hopefully some of these ideas will help others to speak with people about the environment in a way that they will want to get involved and not just think you’re another crazy hippie. I have actually been called that before, so I know how frustrating it can be. As environmentally friendly people we all have to break the perception some people have that we are all raving lunatics. Hopefully more people will listen and make changes in their everyday lives to support the green cause. Peaceful protest is the only justified protest. Violence and hostility towards others is never acceptable no matter what the cause or what side you’re on.