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I have a boyfriend. We have been together for a loooong time.
We are two peas in a pod. If you see him in the street, chances are I’ll be clinging on his arm.
I don’t want to be corny (is it too late?), but I love our relationship. We have fun with each other, take care of each other, and learn A LOT from each other.
There are many things he has taught me:
- How to play LOL
- How to get the perfect consistency for crepes
- How to track my macros
- How to calculate if supermarket discounts actually are good deals
And I like to think that I have taught him a lot, as well.
I’m especially proud of one thing: I taught him everything he knows about living a sustainable lifestyle. I am his eco-influence – is that even a thing?
When we met, he used to recycle, but that’s where his eco-consciousness started and ended. Now, 4 years later, he has the full zero waste kit and is the one who remembers to take the canvas bags every time we go to the market.
Looking back, I’m not sure how this all started. I didn’t “brainwash” him intentionally into this – I promise. His transition felt kind of seamless, very natural. He learned something, he implemented it into his life – just like that.
Was there ever a moment when I forced my lifestyle into his? Was I ever pushy about the topic?
So all this got me thinking: how can we introduce our loved ones into a sustainable lifestyle – painlessly and without being pushy?
So these are the conclusions I reached as I tried to be an eco-influence to my loved ones.
1. Talk about it, but don’t make it your only topic of conversation.
If your only line is “zero waste is the best thing that has happened to me because zero waste is GREAT”, my friendly advice is: cut it.
There is a thin line between being a source of information to people and coming across as annoying. Don’t try to make propaganda, just have a natural conversation about your fascinating green lifestyle.
Social media can be the perfect scenario to do this: retweet environmental news, share environmental memes on your stories (who doesn’t love them?), share with your followers your favorite environmental bloggers (*wink wink*),…
But again: don’t overdo it.
2. Talk with your actions more than with your words
What better way to show others that your lifestyle is easily attainable than showing it yourself?
Bear in mind that this doesn’t mean that you have to parade your reusable coffee cup around. Think about it like this: you’re not trying to convince anyone that your lifestyle is better than theirs, you’re doing your thing and in doing so, setting an example.
Just go about your life, do your thing. Sustainably.
Maybe a friend will ask you about that cup and you’ll have the opportunity to tell them eeeeeverything they want to know. And that moment. Oh, that moment. It’ll feel like a victory, I can guarantee that.
Another little tip: what about giving a nice and useful eco-friendly birthday gift to a friend? Like this beaut coffee cup made of rice husk fiber?
They will start using it, and probably get hooked on the whole movement.
3. Be patient and realize that changes take longer to happen for some people
Maybe you eased pretty smoothly into sustainability, just as my bf did. But not everyone is equally adaptable. Realize this and be a nice human about it.
Why don’t you start with some easy-peasy changes? What about some budget-friendly ones?
It is a whole process.
And if you learn how to enjoy it, you will see that the path – what you teach them, how they put that into their lives…all that – is more rewarding than you might think.
4. And realize that perfection is just an ideal
I’m not perfectly sustainable. This blog is the story of my journey to a MORE sustainable life. I know I won’t be 100% eco, ever. There will always be a part of my lifestyle that won’t be perfect.
Acknowledge the efforts of those around you and be happy about every little battle they win: their first reusable bottle, their first ethical fashion item,… Celebrate that!
Maybe they won’t become vegan, but flexitarian, and they will forever reduce their meat consumption. Maybe they won’t buy an electric car, but they will take public transport every day to work.
Learn to live with these differences and appreciate them. Don’t forget that we are all together on the journey to sustainability and that even the smallest of changes can make a difference.
So tell me, what are your tips to introduce your loved ones to sustainability?
Are you anyone’s eco-influence? Let me know! I love hearing from you.