There’s nothing quite like being consciously dedicated to an eco-friendly lifestyle only to watch your own friends and relatives continue to waste food, toss recyclable materials in the garbage, leave the car idling in the driveway and engage in all sorts of other not-so-environmentally-friendly habits right in front of you. To make matters worse, anyone who’s ever tried to tell a friend or relative that they should change a bad habit often just sounds pushy or naggy in a way that never really gets the message through to them.
We can’t change other people’s behavior for them, but we can lead by example and inspire them by making them aware of our own eco-friendly experiences. While it certainly doesn’t guarantee that everyone around you will automatically jump right on the green living bandwagon, sharing our own journeys with the people we care about is a much more encouraging way to get them to listen and open up their minds to change. Here’s how.
Share how you’ve benefited
This is probably the easiest way you can inspire friends and family members to go green. Rather than flat out telling them what you think they should do to be more environmentally conscious, look for opportunities in your conversations to talk about some of the changes you’ve made and how you’ve benefited from them. For example, if you’ve gained more energy and vitality by replacing meat in your diet with more plant-based foods, that’s certainly something to talk about!
Prove that it’s cheaper
Not everyone is so easily convinced that going green can save them money–especially when it comes to buying organic. If you’ve saved money by making greener choices, why not discuss how much you’ve saved with friends and family? Whether you’ve saved money by making your own non-toxic household cleaners or by changing the settings on your dishwasher and washing machine, chances are your friends and relatives will want to hear all about it if you yourself are excited to share it.
Demonstrate it right in front of them
Sometimes people just have to see something to believe it. To demonstrate your commitment to eco-conscious living, you could invite people over to your place (for a dinner party, board game night, etc.) so you can casually show off your vegetable and herb garden, your cleverly repurposed items (like glass jars), your eco-friendly dishwashing method and anything else green that you’ve worked into your lifestyle. If it’s interesting enough, your guests will likely take notice and start asking you questions about it without you needing to even mention it first.
Offer to do it for them
As a last tip, you can generously offer to make a small green change for a friend or family member that might get them to really pay attention. This strategy may be most appropriate when you’re a guest at their home. For example, you could offer to take some plastic bottles to the recycling bin or food scraps to the compost pile. And if they don’t recycle or compost, you could even politely ask if they’d be okay with you taking those bottles or food scraps back to your place so they can be properly recycled or composted.
Bear in mind that while the above methods can work wonders to inspire people in a very natural way, the trick is to keep the focus on the changes you’ve made in your own life, invoke curiosity, share the benefits, and avoid deliberately pushing your own thoughts and beliefs onto other people. Whatever you do, don’t be that friend or relative who can’t help but be a nag!