Being “Green” Around Those Who Aren’t

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Politics, religion, and….treehugging.  When these topics come up, sometimes tempers can flare, stereotypes run rampant, and soap boxes magically appear.  I dislike the word hate, so much so you might say I hate it.  But when it comes to stereotypes, soap boxes, and trying to settle arguments through anger, I would say I come pretty close to hating all three of those things.  Even as I am writing this I am thinking of the many silly environmental jokes I’ve heard about your stereotypical “treehugger”.  Case in point (http://www.jokes4us.com/miscellaneousjokes/greenjokes.html).

I think everyone is entitled to an opinion, and the world is a better place because of varying views and beliefs.  I definitely believe that you should live and let live to a degree, but not when it comes to doing harm.  Some people just don’t know how their actions can affect others, and sharing some information can do a lot of good.  I have always taken the approach to lead by my actions and explain them when asked.  I believe you have a much better chance of changing behaviors by teaching, not preaching.  For instance, I was at a family barbeque the other day, and had gathered up all the recyclables to be taken home with me (and yes, a little trash digging was involved, don’t judge).  Yet, when I walked away, a very good-intentioned relative had cleaned up and thrown away these recyclables into the trash.  I simply asked where my recyclables went to, and then started digging them back out of the trash.  The relative then came over and started digging things out of the trash with me!  I didn’t have to say anything about why they should be recycled, and maybe, just maybe, next time he’ll recycle without me being there.  A girl can dream.  Maybe I’ll test my theory at the next family gathering.

In the mean time, I hope more environmentalists move away from the scare tactic, guilt smothering approach.  I don’t think it’s worked too well for us.  I’d love to hear your opinions on dealing with those who aren’t so environmentally friendly.  What’s worked well for you?

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