How can I encourage my parents to care about the environment? How do I share with others the importance of sustainability? It seems like no one seem to care, what should I do?
If you can relate to all the above. Don’t worry, I have been in your position countless times. Speaking to the unconvinced about sustainability or having conversations with those who think that “We cannot save the Earth, we are all going to die anyway”.
It does get to me, I am not going to lie. Sometimes I do feel the tinge of sadness or anxiety creeping in when I question “Why don’t they see it the way I do?”.
Even after witnessing the natural disasters around the world or hearing all the statistics of how we are facing the sixth mass extinction, instead of getting pumped up to do something, they shy away and do nothing.
So here is what I have learned about convincing the unconvinced and how I managed to cope too! Please read on because, there is hope after all 😊
Share With Them Where You Are Coming From
Due to the differences in the generation or opinions, there might be some who understand why you place an emphasis on sustainability and some who totally do not understand at all.
Ultimately, each person faces their own challenges and for some of us, the main challenge is about combatting climate change. But don’t get me wrong, it definitely isn’t an excuse for them not to care. Maybe they just haven’t seen it in your point of view yet?
The first step you can take is to expose them to sustainability issues as much as possible so that they are aware of the severity of it. Let them know of the impacts and the urgency of the issue. Let them know why do you care so much about the issue. I know that trying to convince others to take action will drain your energy and optimism and you need to take baby steps to approach it.
Always remember – if the discussion gets too heated, take a break and talk about it another day. You cannot convince someone who has shut off entirely from the conversation.
Read More: How To Start A Climate Conversation
Shine So Bright With Your Passion, They Cannot Ignore You
One thing that always makes someone remembered for their action – passion.
Your undying passion to save the earth. Your insistence on reducing waste in any way. Your pledge away from fast fashion. Your voice for the Earth in the crowd.
Instead of resenting why others are not recycling and nagging at them about it, take the positive approach.
Show them how much you care for the Earth with every little step that you take. Show them how every small action makes a difference. Show your appreciation when you see your family member/friend taking one step to do something for Mother Earth.
All your actions will stay in their minds forever when they see how passionate you are about your cause.
So the next time they buy an item and the cashier is going to give them a plastic bag, you will pop into their mind and the chances of them saving, I don’t need it is much higher. Let them think of you.
Trust me, it has happened many times like this for me before. Small nudges work amazingly and never underestimate their power.
Be There For Them When They Need Help To Learn About Sustainability
So now that you are on their mind and your unending passion for sustainability is always there, be there for them.
We all know that embarking on a sustainable journey isn’t one that can be done overnight.
Sustainability is such a complex issue that involves everything we do – what we eat, what we wear, what we buy – that sometimes it is easier to look the other way for some.
There are so many things to learn and unlearn. Let the other party know that if they have questions, you are there to help them anytime!
Share with them your tips and tricks, favourite low waste products, everything that you know. But be careful not to overwhelm them with too much information! Keep it simple and bite-sized and give them the resources for them to delve further if they wish to.
You can even learn together! Watch documentaries, read books or current affairs about sustainability and share that with each other.
The journey is always made easier when you have someone to talk to, depend on and learn with!
Never Never Never Lose Hope
It is easy to lose hope sometimes when you see how others are so nonchalant about the climate change issues, especially your friends and family.
But take it from this girl who has been on this 11-year journey, change DOES happen and you just need to be patient!
If I lost hope at the start with others, I don’t think I would have been able to encourage so many of you to take your first step into sustainability.
Some of you might see results within a couple of months. Some of you might only see results in a few years. Some of you might never see the results happen.
But always see the good in people and know that one day, you will see them bringing their own containers, saying no to that plastic bag, eating less meat. And you can proudly say, I was there when they took the first step into sustainability.
I never regarded or called myself an activist. Rather I recognise that I am a changemaker because to me, that is something that everyone can be. As a changemaker, you can encourage people to take steps in a positive way. You can share with others about the journey you are on. And you are making a change in some way or another.
And if you ever have any questions and need help, feel free to reach out to me!