How to talk with the one who is not into eco-lifestyle like you?

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And you are tired to argue and wish him to see what you see.

“Ok, so let’s begin to live ascetic; let’s not buy anything new, beautiful, or fun. Let’s walk and bike everywhere, eat only veggies, sit in a cold house, wash with cold water only… No! Let’s live in a hut!” I sometimes get this kind of extra moody response when suggesting that someone – or we – could take a few more steps towards a sustainable lifestyle. Maybe you have experienced this as well? Sometimes the first defense mechanism is an exaggeration, and I admit, it is freaking annoying. Because what they are preaching is not true – eco-living is Not miserable! How respond to these assumptions without getting annoyed or frustrated? What to say?

An underground hobbit house. Would eco-living force us to live an ascetic life?
Eco-people live in huts without running water and grow all their food. Right?

First, why do some people respond negatively with resistance and exaggeration? Maybe they hate changes overall or simply don’t have the energy to focus on one more issue in their lives. I get it; we are busy, and anything new takes energy at first. “What do I need to give up? What will I lose?” There is no single thought about the positive effects of small shifts in lifestyle and attitude. Luckily, people like us can remind the grumpy ones about all the good sides – right?

Secondly, a sustainable lifestyle is not purely about giving up goodies, but it will bring good things to everyone’s life as long as they are willing to see them. It is not a grey and joyless life with extra efforts in the name of saving energy. It sometimes requires some additional thought or time before it becomes a habit, but that will change in time.

Eco-lifestyle creates a chain of goodness in people’s lives (it’s worth it.)

Becoming aware of our surroundings, at home, in society, and in nature increases understanding – and compassion.

Thankfulness and respect:
Through compassion, empathy, and awareness, we experience thankfulness. It is easier to notice our privileges and respect nature.

Decreased consumption:
Awareness and thankfulness create satisfaction which might have a remarkable impact on our consumption habits and values.

No need to become a minimalist but awareness, thankfulness, satisfaction, and decreased consumption bring clarity. Into mind, schedules, and surroundings.

Here is the down-to-earth aspect. Eco-lifestyle will bring savings – if not immediately but in the long run. The shift in habits takes time, and hopefully, also society will keep on changing.

When everyone is in an optimistic mood, you could have a conversation with your grumpy spouse, friend, or family member. You know, when the time is right, and you feel like being nice instead of preaching or being sarcastic. Become curious to understand how he thinks. What is his truth, and how he creates his priorities?

Sometimes labeling the ideology is the thing that freaks the other one out. S/he can actually be full of compassion and understanding, even interested in different (green) solutions and technologies. They are the words, the labels, that get him or her to freak out and create resistance. Try to change your vocabulary and keep the peace.

Living or spending a lot of time with a person who does not share your values can feel heavy. How can such a great person not see this as I see it? But as long as other essential values are a match, there should be a way to combine your lifestyles and interests. It just might take time, new perspectives, and effort.

Featured image: Leonardo Valente from Pixabay 
Hobbit hut:  Bence Kondor from Pexels

One comment

  1. This is a tough question, and the answer depends on who you are talking with. What kind of an individual that person is.
    It’s best to understand their motivations and concerns and perhaps suggest the eco-action that most resonates with their values.
    It’s important to remind them that they don’t need to change everything about themselves (unlike what they are sarcastically saying). This will turn off their defense mechanism and perhaps they will listen to us?


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