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Don’t see it, don’t care! + why people can get defensive about environmental topics - for one🧐

I guess this is one of these human phenomenons that bothers me a lot.

Especially in the environmental aspect.

If people don’t see the pollution, can’t feel the environmental affect,

it sometimes doesn’t seem to “sink in” that our behaviors (eating, buying, wasting, traveling, . . .) have an impact and that we can change them to support positive change.

You’d think, that when you show people videos of animals living miserably,

being mistreated and slaughtered, the rain forest being burnt down in order to grow cheap feed for animals and ecosystems being destroyed,

that people would say: “Of course I will stop eating meat immediately I don’t want to support that.”

Or that you show somebody a video about the fast fashion industry:

landfills of never worn clothing, how much water is frivolously wasted and polluted, people who work in broken down factories, making less than a living wage,

that people would say: “Of course I will never buy fast fashion again, I don’t want to support that.

But that is often not the case.

And I don’t think that it’s just that people don’t care.

They see a video of something awful or read an article, scrunch their foreheads in shock and then go show someone else.

They rewatch the video together and both acknowledge that:

“This is horrible, how can this be allowed? There is so much wrong with the animal industry.”

And then go on preparing chicken parm for dinner.

And in this case probably not because they are vicious people who want to support that suffering, but more that they don’t associate the chicken on their plate with being part of the problem.

Then on the other hand of course there are people who say:

“Ok, I see that and it’s awful, but I’m not willing to change my habits.”

Because it’s too comfortable and it seems like too big of a personal sacrifice, giving up meat or even going vegan.

🌱And a lot of people HATE being told to go vegan or plant based.

It’s like a personal offence.🌱

And it is something that of course has a psychological explanation.

I have read a lot about this because it irritated me how people can get very cross with you when you only TELL them that you ARE vegan.

So you are not even telling them that they should be vegan.

Simply the statement: “No thank you, I’m vegan. I’ll just have the potatoes with the veggies.”

seems to be an invitation for mockery, downtalking, questionable remarks and raised eyebrows.

Some people get really defensive, one of the reasons being, that YOU telling THEM that you are vegan is being received as criticism of THEIR personal lifestyle choices.

. . .

Which can be true of course.

Being vegan or environmentally conscious doesn’t make you a saint.

It makes you a person who has certain values and makes certain lifestyle choices,

like other people do, too.

But you are still a person,

who may judge other people,

who stands their ground for their own opinion and will defend themselves as well.

Now that that has been said….

Reasons why people might be reacting to certain things in a defensive manner:

1. Feeling judged or criticized
2. Protecting ourselves emotionally
3. Feeling attacked, particularly when a certain topic strikes a nerve 
4. Feeling under attack when it seems like someone is threatening our sense of identity, key values, or worth
5. Being in denial, refusing to see the own responsibility or that a problem exists at all
6. Trying to bend the truth in order to justify a behavior
7. Taking out our own frustration about another problem
. . .

Now that we’ve clarified that, you know why your uncle may look like he’s about to strangle you when you try telling him that buying bottled water is unnecessary when one has access to perfectly fine tab water.

Back to the topic of: don’t see it – don’t care

So it seems that for many people it takes a lot to change their beliefs and in turn transfer that to real practical actions in their everyday life if something does not (yet) effect them in a way that they are forced to change something.

And I think a few factors that are needed to be able to take the necessity of change seriously or to just start listening and responding to conversations or new information are:

> Fear
> Awareness/consciousness
> Being open minded
> level of education 
> Willingness to listen
> Being able to identify own reservations and defense mechanisms
> Being self-critical and secure enough in oneself to be able to react in a calm and matter of fact manner when confrontation or criticism arise to receive and process information effectively
. . .

So for both parties

(the ones that try to convince or make others aware of something and the ones who are on the receiving end of that) :

🌱try to stay collected and detach objective information from yourself as a person

🌱try to listen calmly and give the other person a chance to say what they need to say

If someone wants to talk about ANYTHING that is a "good" topic

(sustainability, nature, fair wages, human rights, well-being of animals).

Let them talk, please.

These topics that pursue a "better world" have no negatives, for people, planet, animals, . . .

so if someone is standing up for any of it that is always a GOOD thing, right?

We are intelligent beings who have the capacity to

think big,

have empathy,

a vivid imagination,

change habits,

ability to expand our knowledge,

. . .

So when we see injustice, get educated about it and have possibilities to help support positive change - although a problem might not effect us directly -

then let's take stuff seriously and make lifestyle changes or avoid buying things we KNOW are bad!

Even if it causes some temporary discomfort and reorientation for a couple of weeks.

What happens in this world matters and effects us ALL one way or another even if it DOESN'T HAPPEN EXACTLY AT OUR DOORSTEP.

Let's do something about it!

Thank you for reading💚

See ya next blog👋🏼

Xx Stella

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