Say there is a Mr. X that is absolutely hell bent on not adopting an eco friendly lifestyle. He refuses to turn off the ignition at traffic signals, finds it too much work to carry cloth bags for grocery shopping and in general finds the rest of the world proclaiming and heralding greener ways of living silly and a waste of time. Now, the question is, how do you convince this person that green living is the best way to be and that the path that he is following will lead him to a hell full of junk and all things obnoxious?
There are a lot many Mr. Xs around on Earth who treat this planet like they have another one to go to. Some countries have their entire culture wrapped around comfortable but environmentally damaging lifestyle. For example, an average American always gets a car when he or she turns 16, even if there are already two more cars in the family garage. The same stretch of road is travelled by 3 separate people in 3 separate cars. There are many such instances where people cannot think of a greener way of life by dumping their ecologically harmful everyday methods.
However, the feat of convincing them against their mindset is not impossible, even though it is quite difficult. Here goes:
1. Start with the basic concepts of everyday life: In such cases, mentioning the environment and using an almost accusative tone never ever helps. Talking less about the harmful effects caused by human beings on the environment and more about how going green will benefit the individual does the trick. Among the uneducated masses who do not know the heavy terms like global warming, etc., using layman’s language and the benefits of an eco friendly lifestyle helps in convincing them in your favor.
2. Talks of Money: Nowadays the world is more concerned about the color green. That is, not the color of Nature but the color of money. People only worry about the issue if when you hit it where it hurts, that is, their pocket. If you show them how their current lifestyle is costing them more money than the greener alternative, they will accept the latter with open arms.
For example, the price of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is far lesser than the cost of petrol and diesel. If people started using cleaner fuel, they are saving so much money.
If they use electricity powered two-wheelers sure, they will go a little slower than the petrol run counterparts, but, look at bright side, you do not require a driving license for it. This is a pretty lucrative deal in India.
3.Peer Pressure: So, you and a few other people at your workplace are gung-ho about going green. There is always this one annoying plastic-wrapping, non-serviced car using colleague who is the odd one out. What do you do? Talk more and more among yourselves about the benefits of green living.
Talk about how you saved more than two hundred dollars last month by enhancing your car’s fuel efficiency.
Discuss how they give discounts at supermarkets if you bring along your own cloth bag for shopping instead of taking their plastic bags.
So on and so forth.
Sooner or later, the person will feel left out and realize your way is more profiting and viola! You have a new member of your green gang.
4. Health is wealth: Everybody wants to be fit, disease-free and have a great physique. Tell them that cycling your way to school or office is the secret to those toned legs of yours.
The meat industry is the source of large amount of methane, a greenhouse gas and reducing your red meat consumption effectively brings down methane and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere as well. It is proven that red meat is not good for health and particularly the colon. It also adds to your waistline. People would gladly cut down on it.
5. Organic is Best: ‘Agreed, your store-bought tomatoes could outlast mine but they cannot beat my organic ones at tasting best on a tomato-basil pizza.’ So goes the conversation at a moms’ get together brunch. Convince people that artificially ripened fruits and vegetables are second best to organically produced ones, without the use of fertilizers and pesticides. This gives them the encouragement to even begin their own kitchen garden. You can elaborate how composting gives your garden the nutrients and reduces your waste bin size too.
6. Home décor: Maintain a good garden with a lot of trees. Possibly, build a tree house too. Kids love them. The neighborhood kids would insist on having their own too. A lot more trees and tree houses can be seen in your locality in a few months.
When entertaining guests, have them sit out in the garden and enjoy the fresh air, instead of using the air conditioner indoors. Make it a point to show them how the natural breeze feels better than indoor air.
7. Tell people how having your home insulated saved you 20% of your heating bills.
8. Highlight on trips to natural forests and mountains than shopping in malls and sitting in limos.
9. Selling waste paper and recyclable things to the raddiwallah or the paper mart has gotten you more than your pocket money. Teenagers love pocket money and extra cash is always welcome.
10. Use plastic wrappers and old newspapers to make innovative craft items and teach the fabulous techniques to other people.
There are many such ways to bring stubborn people on your side. This works best when people find benefits in the method and find it money-saving. Most of all, actions speak louder than words. Sooner or later, they will take notice of your constant efforts to make your difference for the good health of the planet and will follow suit.