Sadly, our environment is changing… and not in a positive direction. Heat waves, melting ice, and CO2 levels are increasing all over the world. It’s now imperative that every inhabitant of this planet makes their own contribution to save it.
Small efforts to reduce your individual footprint, even day-to-day are what will make the biggest difference in the long run. These efforts include telling your friends about the little ways they can help the planet too.
Talk About It
Your friends want your thoughts and opinions more than those from a random website or government initiative. When it comes to having a conversation about changing habits and lifestyle, sensitivity and kindness should be paramount for making the conversation productive, while remembering that we are all working together towards the same goal.
Put yourself in the shoes of the person you are approaching and remember how you felt when you realized some of your tried-and-true habits were bad for the planet. If you approach it too harshly, your friend could feel attacked if you tell them they use too much water to brush their teeth, so thoughtfulness is key. Most importantly though, make sure you’re having an open dialogue with them, not just criticizing their lifestyle.
Highlighting how you also had to learn a greener lifestyle creates a more comfortable environment and can make your friend more responsive. Also mentioning steps that you and your friends(s) can take together to become greener is a great way to create and show that you are with them in the process.
One Step at a Time
It’s much easier to commit to change when you have other people to keep you accountable. For example, carpooling with a few of your coworkers and can have tons of perks, namely group accountability. If you all agree to travel together, the whole group benefits from reduced gas prices, time saving (since your travel time has now become suable time if you’re not the one driving), in addition to reducing emissions.
On a bigger scale, the more people that share a car, the fewer cars there are on the road, which lowers your commute time. Most importantly though, it helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which are to blame for atmospheric warming.
According to the United States EPA, from 1990 to 2015, there was a shocking 37% increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The Earth can’t tolerate these increasing levels, and helping to minimize the number of cars on the road is an effective place to start.
If carpooling isn’t an option for you and friends, find activities that are educational and fun. Suggesting something like going to the local farmers’ market on the weekend to buy produce is a good way to try something new and support your local economy.
If you go, make sure to bring reusable bags instead of plastic! Many environmentally-savvy people are shifting to using hemp products, like paper and fabric, because it has a faster growth time, thus it is more sustainable. Hemp bags and clothing are rising in popularity, both for their style and durability and are a sustainable way for you and your friends to stand out while being environmentally conscious.
Finding ways to reduce plastic use can also be a project to tackle together. More minds are going to produce more ideas! For example, Green Apple Active uses sustainable and all-natural materials—not only in their activewear, but also in all of their packaging and manufacturing. Typical leggings are made with synthetic materials, which can leach into the bloodstream and disrupt your thyroid. With Green Apple Active sustainable products though, you can feel good about exercising in clothing that is both good for you and good for the planet.
It Takes Time
Finally, assuring your friends that all of their lifestyle changes don’t have to happen immediately is essential. It can take months to phase out old habits and products and replace them with new and better ones, but daily improvements are what lead to big changes.
It’s important to remember that you are the best example to your friends of sustainability and the best way to help change their habits. A good role model never hurts; and who knows, maybe your friends will end up selling their belongings and moving into a tiny house… all because you decided to tell them about sustainability.