How to have THE conversation
Maybe your parents had it with you, maybe it was a friend, or maybe you just read enough to make your own decisions about how to act…
Bringing up the ’S’ word can be awkward and uncomfortable
But for the good of humanity, we urge you to do it.
(We hope you’ve had the conversation about the other S word too!)
There’s a right and a wrong way to encourage sustainability
Dishing out fact after fact about how terrible climate change is, and all the ways we’re ruining planet, can make your audience feel… not so great.
Think of it like trying to persuade someone to eat healthy — you might be able to convince someone to start a strict diet, but how likely are they to stick to it?
By showing someone how good they’ll feel by eating better, and how achievable it is to do so, you’re much more likely to change that person’s habits for the long run.
It’s the same with sustainability!
So the next time you feel like doing this to your friend for continuing to use single-use plastic or not recycling.
Remember the following tips:
Instead of talking about all the things your friend/family member is doing wrong, talk about what you’ve been doing — introduce sustainability as something you’reinterested in and passionate about.
> Talk about new habits you’ve formed and why
> Introduce favorite products or sustainable brands
> Instead of pointing out a problem, suggest a solution
Leading by example and providing easy ways to make an impact can be the most effective way to drive interest and action from the people who care about you.
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“Karen, I can’t believe you’re using those disposable cotton face wipes, don’t you know that those are pilling up in landfills all over the world?”
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“Check out these reusable face wipes I ordered the other day! You can use them for over 1 year, eliminating a massive amount of waste that is pilling up in landfills.
I’ve been trying to cut down on my impact lately and have really enjoyed some of the solutions I found.”
You didn’t pop out of your mother’s womb as the world’s most sustainable human — let’s be honest, you’ve done your fair share of polluting. Be real about some of the challenges of sustainability.
Emphasizing how much you have learned about your habits and the process of changing them — the good AND the bad — can make the other person feel less intimidated.
Recognize and appreciate that there may be barriers to what the other person can change about the current lifestyle that may not apply to you. Instead, offer alternative solutions, or support.
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“I haven’t ordered waimai (takeout) in over a year, I don’t understand why people are so addicted to it.”
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“It was really difficult for me to give up ordering waimai, it’s so convenient and easy, but I knew it was creating so much unnecessary waste.
Last year I made a commitment to either dine-in, or make my own food, it was really challenging at first and I wanted to give up, but it became easier over time. I know with your schedule it might not be possible, but I can share with you some of my tips if you want to try it for a few days per week.”
You wouldn’t tell your friend/family member to run a marathon if she/he has never run a 10K. It’s the same with changing your habits to be more sustainable!
A sustainable lifestyle doesn’t have to be complicated, nor unachievable, but small actions each day, from many people can add up to a big impact.
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“I challenge you to eliminate all single-use plastic from your life, starting today.”
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“How about switching out all plastic bags for a reusable one, it’s best to keep one at your office and one at the house so you can always have it handy if you end up going shopping.”
It’s much easier (and more fun!) to make changes to your lifestyle when you have a group of people to hold you accountable.
Create monthly challenges among your group to limit purchases of new clothing, reduce plastic waste or switch to sustainable products — make a chat group, send photos and support each other.
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“You should stop buying so many new clothes, the fashion industry is one of the most polluting in the world.”
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“I love shopping, but I know that the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, do you want to do a challenge with me? Let's commit to 6 months without buying any new piece of clothing.
We can do a weekly checkin, and text each other each time we have the urge to buy something so that we hold each other accountable.”
Literally. If you’re looking for a fun way to get a friend/family member involved, what better way than to plant a tree in Inner Mongolia with her/his name on it. For 25 RMB your friend will receive a personalized certificate stating that a tree has been planted in her/his honor — helping to reduce deforestation and revitalize the environment for generations to come.
Plant a tree today on our WeChat.
Article Credits: Olivia Plotnick