Behavioral changes and altering beliefs are not things that happen overnight and in fact, some people might be extremely reluctant to modify their actions and viewpoints. So it goes that even in this day and age, you might have friends that are hesitant to believe in the positive aspects of sustainability or in layman’s terms, “going green.” These are the same friends who do not believe in global warming and cannot see how the small changes they make can have any impact on the environment. What do you do with these people? How can you convince them that any change, even the smallest ones, can make a difference?
The first step in convincing someone to alter their behavior, whether it is as simple as putting their water bottles into a recycling can or driving less so that they decrease their carbon footprint, is to educate them. The younger generations could benefit from this type of education the most because they are going to face the greater need for green energy. Education can be found online, through knowledgeable discussions, in newspaper articles or in magazines, and in simple discussions with friends.
After approaching the topic with your friend, encourage them to think about all of the small ways they can make an impact on changing the environment. Small changes add up and getting someone used to becoming a caretaker for the environment will lead them to make greater changes in the future.
Next, the newly environmentally conscious person will need to prepare themselves to make a change, adding extra time for their new commute or purchasing a reusable water bottle. Finally, they have to put those plans into action and maintain them in order to make the biggest impact.
Because people are so reluctant to change, do not expect your friend to go out and invest in photovoltaic systems overnight. Making environmentally responsible changes can be done in small increments. Encourage your friend to turn off their faucets or fix a leak can save nearly 1,500 gallons of water a year. Recycling paper can make a huge difference. One ton of paper can save seventeen trees and nearly 700 gallons of oil. Parking the car in the garage and using your bicycle or even walking are not only healthy choices, but they are green energy changes that can have a significant impact on the environment. Every gallon of gas burned emits 25 pounds of dangerous gases into the environment. Recycling is extremely important when it comes to water bottles. Over one-million tons of plastic waste is created by water bottles. It takes 47 gallons of oil to produce that amount of plastic in one year alone. Recycling those bottles means that they can be used for other projects and will not sit around harming the environment or giving off toxic fumes when they are burned. Finally, when your friend is ready to make a big green energy change for the environment, converting some of their power needs to solar power is the best change they can make. Solar power gives off no pollution and has no harmful effect on the environment.