Your conversations about the environment with other people💚🌲
Truth passes through three phases: First it is ridiculed. Second it is fiercely and violently opposed. Third, it becomes self-evident.
~ Arthur Schopenhauer
Challenging and changing ones beliefs can be a very difficult thing.
We are subjected to news and opinions of, neighbors, social media,
news outlets, teachers, colleagues all the time.
We could change our opinion based on something we’ve heard every three seconds but we often don't.
What I think is something that is non-negotiable is science and
more than that - clear as day evidence that has been proven, is widely known and even possible to see and experience in everyday life.
Like: climate change🌋🔥.
And not just the change of the climate itself, but the broadest sense of the word.
The loss of species, the pollution of air, water, soil, the melting of glaciers, extreme weather conditions around the world, melding into a long scary👻 list of facts that are not able to be denied by a sane, educated, living human being.
Do you have a friend, sibling or relative that has a very different opinion than you
(it doesn’t have to be related to the environment)?
You get into quarrels with that person frequently and just can’t change their beliefs or even get them to hear you out,
let alone consider that they might be wrong about a topic?
I’m pretty sure you know what I’m talking about.
🌍Now in the case of the topic of environmental matters it is very important to try and influence the people around you in favor of planet earth.
You can be the person that does their thing:
picks up trash, is vegan, composts, buys only second-hand, non-smoker,
produce-net user and friendly human
(at this point I am clapping for you, because this is a long list of great things you are already doing😁😍).
But imagine if you knew 5 people that, probably unintentionally, lived very unsustainable lives,
YOU showed them the ropes and you’d be visiting them a month later to have a picnic in their garden where they greeted you with home-grown veggies, jam from a local, organic farmer and bread baked from organic-flour which they bought in bulk in a cotton bag-
all arranged nicely on a second hand picnic blanket on bamboo cutlery.
AHHHHHH-deep breath, what a long sentence.
Do you feel warm and fuzzy inside🥰 with that slightly exaggerated picture in your head?
Good, because here comes the not so fuzzy part (don’t be scared I’ll be with you the whole time😆).
This is the part where you might need to have long, uncomfortable, confrontational conversations.
If you have before, you know how frustrating it can be, trying to talk to someone who shuts their ears and won’t budge on their opinion no matter how many facts and how much proof you present them with🧐.
This has on several occasions irritated me to a point where I could no longer keep my composure and would just start 🤯yelling at the person, telling them that they were doing everything wrong, that they were ignorant and part of a huge problem…yadda yadda yadda.
But because convincing people to live more sustainable lives can have a huge impact and anyone can do it, I would like to share some
conversational tips and tricks that might help you keep your cool❄ in the event of a heated debate.
First of all
It is very important to be aware of what the person who you are trying to convince of something they don’t believe in might be feeling or thinking in that moment.
People rely highly on their beliefs for a sense of security.
When you challenge someone’s beliefs that can lead to a person feeling like they are being attacked which often manifests itself in reacting defensively or getting angry/irritated.
So it is always advisable to try and stay calm and collected,
to try and help the person detach what you are telling them from themselves.
It is not personal or criticism or a lecture.
Bring yourself into the topic and make them feel like the focus is being taken off them by saying something like:
“I want to talk to you about this because it is very important to me.”
“I want to talk to you about this because it is a very current topic.
Do you know anything about it? Are you interested in it?”
“There is something that has been on my mind. I would like to share it with you and talk about it. Are you up for it.?
It is helpful to make it feel like a conversation not a lecture.
Depending on the person’s mood and personality you could also start by saying something like: “I usually see you buying produce in plastic bags,
I have these really great reusable bags that you can take when you go grocery shopping so you never have to use plastic.”
But that really depends on the person you are talking to and if they get offended about "telling them what to do", easily.
Another consideration is how much the person already knows about the topic.
It can be overwhelming for someone, who knows near to nothing about for e.g. climate change,
To suddenly hear the full extent of it.
It helps a lot to start off slow and ‘ease’ them into it.
If you feel like having a conversation is not going anywhere it could help to make the person watch a video, a show or listen to a podcast about it with you.
You could introduce them to a magazine or an app that deals with the topic.
Last tip is to get your facts straight and to memorize them.
Be confident and make sure that you think about what you want to say before having the conversation in order to avoid getting flustered or too emotional.
👀I know that talking to people about a topic like this can be uncomfortable and scary.
Especially when an argument turns into a fight, it has in the past made me feel insecure or like what I was saying was unjustified.
But it is so important to stick with it and help spread knowledge and awareness about the climate crisis🗺🌋.
If only 5 people make it a mission to each convince 5 people they know to live more sustainable lives and give them awareness,
that makes 25 more people who care about the environment and do their part.
Now these 25 people themselves know more people who they might convince, too which can create a huge ripple effect.
Which shows again that individual action can have an impact.
Don’t be afraid to get out there and “speak for the trees”🌲
(who knows what movie that is from?😊)
I am proud of you if you are trying or are working up the courage to do so.
📢Get yourself a megaphone and shout your voice from the rooftops😄
💚Thank you for reading and feel free to share your experiences with uncomfortable/productive conversations about the environment over my Instagram @thrive_bynature 💚
See ya next blog👋🏼