How to Help People to Adopt a Greener Lifestyle

Mark Gordon Brown By Mark Gordon Brown, 23rd May 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Science>Environmental Science

More people would go green if those who preached about it would make it a whole lot easier.

Going Green Should Not Hurt

Many people have had some sort of contact with a Green Crusader, one who not only tries to force everyone to conform to their definition of being Green, but almost seems to want it to hurt (no pain no gain?). They proclaim, or grumble, “If it doesn't hurt, you're not doing it right.”, or they bask in the egotistical pride of their personal suffering to live a Green Lifestyle. People like that are perhaps a bigger threat than those who refuse to adopt a Green Lifestyle.

Adopting a Green Lifestyle is more about finding alternatives for things that people already do rather than having them conform to the myopic moral, or ethical beliefs, of certain sub-cultures or individuals.

As a result of those who try to force people to make drastic changes, or sacrifices, many people are refusing to go green or to even resist the notion that there is a reason TO go green!

Give "Going Green" Information as a Gift, rather than a Punishment

If we view the knowledge we impart to others on "How to live a Green Lifestyle", as gifts, to help them as individuals, instead of as weapons to force them into living green, as if they were just another member of the human herd, we will get faster results.

On one television show, the star, who is in a profession that allows more daily freedom than most professions, promotes ideas for being Green that would seem blatantly ridiculous to most people. Someone who has spent all day on their feet does not want to come home and pedal a bike to watch television or make toast. Stop making going Green seem harder than it really is or look silly!

We need to suggest alternatives that fit each individuals needs, wants, and tastes, for food, shelter, transportation, or even entertainment.

You may mistakenly think their needs would be the most important part of this equation, but if you concentrate on their tastes and wants, and base your suggestions on those, you will get better results. Everyone has needs, but talking about needs can be uncomfortable or boring. Besides, if we really strip down everyone's "needs", we find that they are not the major barrier to converting to Green Living, "wants" are. By suggesting Green Alternatives to fit peoples' "wants", based on their tastes, we open up discussion and hopefully adoption of a Green Lifestyle.

Some Suggestions

It has been suggested that one of the greenest things people can do is to adopt a Vegetarian Lifestyle. This may be true but few people are ready to take that giant leap all at once. It would be better to suggest they eat some meatless meals, have some meatless days, or to just have smaller portions of meat when they do have it (even health experts have suggested most people eat portions of meat that are too large and suggest a portion size should be as big as a deck of cards, not an 8oz steak).

Rather than telling people to take a bike to work perhaps suggest they make more effecient use of their car, doing all their errands at once, after work, rather than driving around so many times on different days.

Instead of telling people they cannot use air conditioning in their homes, teach them that by planting trees near their windows they can cool their homes naturally.

Appeal to their Other Senses

If a person is not interested in saving the planet, show them that going green can also save them money.

Growing their own food is cheaper than buying it at the store. Even if all a person grows is a few tomato plants on a balcony it is a start.

Animal lovers may enjoy keeping pet chickens (where allowed), who will not only provide eggs, but if allowed to be free range, they will also eat bugs.

By using fewer chemicals on our lawns we may even see health benefits to ourselves, and our children. Going green is safer than using chemicals to make our lawns green.


Carbon Footprint, Easier, Environment, Environmentally Friendly, Environmnental, Go Green, Going Green, Green, How To, Ideas, Natural, Nature, Teach, Teaching, Vegetarian

Meet the author

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
Raised in Michigan, I have a son who recently joined the Military. I am living in Canada with my wife where we have a hobby farm.

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author avatar PR Mace
30th May 2010 (#)

Excellent article, I loved the picture of Brenda bending with the tree.

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author avatar Judy Niner
23rd Feb 2011 (#)

Thank you for an interesting and pragmatic article. You have made some excellent suggestions. I'd like to add another. I hope you'll forgive me for mentioning my own business... One thing we have to accept is that some people have to commute long distances to work and can't share cars or use public transport. Rather than criticising them, we need to help them find an alternative. Weekday renting from a company like lets people cut their commuting carbon footprint if they can't find any other way to cut their commute.

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