How to convince your friends & family to be sustainable

This made me chuckle,

"At first, the husband complained. But this was a battle he was not going to win... Once I’m dead, he can do whatever he wants.  In the meantime, we’re sticking with etee." (actual review of our dish soap)

Change is HARD, even when we want to make a difference, but now more than ever, we need to bridge the intention gap if we want to reduce emissions and plastic.

According to researchers at UBC, while 65% of people want to support sustainability, only 26% actually did!

And it's even harder if you find friends, family (you'd be surprised how many husbands are called out in our reviews for not getting on board the sustainability wagon) or business leaders thwart your efforts.


1- 'Social Influence' / Peer Pressure (Shame... shame...)

The UBC study was all about the power of social influence (read: shame and FOMO). In other words, people are more likely to adopt sustainable behaviours if they see (or hear about) others doing it too. 

Here are a few other examples that prove this point:

  • In Calgary, a city-led initiative to encourage grasscycling (leaving your clippings on your lawn to naturally decompose) had dismal buy-in from residents when it was first launched. The city pivoted with a new campaign; “Your neighbours are grasscycling. You can too.” Guess what happened? Within two weeks, the uptake in grasscycling doubled!
  • In a research study at the University of Victoria, students were asked to reduce their vehicle usage AND told that their fellow students were ditching their cars in favour of more sustainable means of transportation. The findings? Students were five times more likely to pick cycling, bussing, and other sustainable transpo!
  • A study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology showed that when online shoppers saw other people buying eco-friendly products, there was a 65% increase in them making at least one sustainable purchase. 
2- Get to root causes - 

The hard truth is that not everybody cares about climate change or or the horrific effects of plastics in our oceans. 

I encounter this a lot when I venture into social media , but I've found that resistance is often based on fear, especially for policy makers who fear job loss, and even though there are likely to be MORE jobs created by renewable energy, it's not going to be evenly spread.

"Job losses would be most pronounced in communities that are heavily dependent on fossil energy production, especially coal. Even where the number of direct energy jobs lost is small, the impact on the local economy can be significant." (IEA.org)

Compassion and empathy can be hard when someone's coming at you, but it almost always pays off because it can lead to deeper understanding and connection. 

3- Celebrate the wins - no matter how small

A few years ago, IKEA launched a sustainability program called Live Lagom (lagom means “the right amount”). They found that people would begin with small actions and then tack on bigger changes. For example, buying LED light bulbs would lead to lowering the thermostat and wearing warmer clothes, insulating windows and doors, and buying energy-efficient appliances.

When your friends, family, or colleagues make positive changes—no matter how big or small—it’s important to recognize them! That way, they’re encouraged to keep doing them and more likely to adopt other positive changes.

We're in a massive shift right now, cultural, technological and environmental.  We live in a glorious and challenging time, but together we can and will get through it, and be better for it.

Thanks always for reading and learning with me, and if you'd like to make a small change today, come visit our shop!

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