This post was written by Caroline Egan
Everyone has that friend that is really passionate about a subject, so much that they preach to anyone who listens about it. Here at 360Chestnut, we worry about those who are trying to spread the word about being eco-friendly while being too egotistical. How can one truly be eco-tistical (this a word we made up for this article, go with it!) without sounding egotistical?
In a perfect world, everyone would be eco-conscious and have LEED certified homes, but we have not gotten there just yet. How do we convince our family and friends to embrace a greener lifestyle? Here are some pointers (we’ll try not to sound high and mighty ourselves):
First, never sound preachy. For example “What do you mean you don’t recycle? Don’t you know the polar bears are dying?” Rather you could say, “I once read that recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to listen to a full album on your iPod and recycling 100 cans could light your bedroom for two whole weeks! That’s why I try to recycle as much as I can, because it is often the littlest things that help.” People are much more willing to listen to you if you don’t link their failing to be eco-conscious to a massive problem (like the depleting population of polar bears).
Local 360Chestnut Heroes Caroline and Ryan do their part to live a cleaner life.
Second, lead by example. Humans mimic each other without even knowing it, and learn subconsciously from the influences around them. If you bring a mug into work instead of using a new paper cup everyday, eventually someone else might too.
Attitudes have changed in the past two decades about being eco-conscious; for example, over 87 percent of Americans have access to curbside or drop-off paper recycling programs. So we hope most of your friends are recycling and you won’t have to be ecotistical about that. The harder topics are ones that the public is less educated about.
Let’s say you’ve added solar panels to your home and it has worked out so well for you, you are savings hundreds a year on your energy bills and you feel like you are really doing something to be more sustainable. Instead of insisting that everyone install solar panels, tell your friends how the first steps you took to making your home more energy efficient was insulating it. (Check out 360Chestnut’s steps to saving money and energy on your home.) Since you are their friend, not professor, your friends will appreciate you not going to the extreme on how to be more energy efficient.
Being ecotistical is about knowing what types of information to share with your friends and family about being eco-conscious. Always be friendly, never preachy. Offer realistic advice on what others can to take steps toward sustainability. Remember in order to be ecotistical you don’t need to be egotistical!