Our certain power over the environment
Today, I'd like to tell you not to despair, to remain hopeful. We all know that human beings have difficulty understanding the major impact they have on the planet, and that they are in a way its worst enemy, destroying it little by little.
We all have a certain power over the environment: through the choices we make, the example we set and the awareness we spread.
That's how it works, really. Very rarely do we change all our habits, or even one habit, overnight. To change them, you have to know the impact and give yourself a chance.
Hammering and guilt-tripping
Perhaps it's because of the sense of urgency that we're seeing, along with a multitude of obvious facts, but the hammering and guilt-tripping that we're seeing more and more of today don't seem to us to be effective methods. It's true that, in many respects, we need to change our habits quickly before we deplete raw materials and destroy our living environment. However, these two methods don't seem to help us transform our habits into effective ways of reducing our ecological footprint.
For me, hammering is ecological harassment. It's an intrusive and repeated way of coming back with the same ecological concepts. Repeating 50 times to someone that their greenhouse gas emissions are too high without really making them understand what that means and without giving them viable options won't change much.
As far as guilt-tripping is concerned, it has the effect of freezing the person undergoing it. It's a way of bringing in ecological concepts that leads to a feeling of guilt without leading to solutions. The "why do you do that" and the "why don't you do that" are examples of this.
The same goes for apocalyptic theories, which seem to paralyze more by arousing feelings of helplessness than by providing concrete examples enabling individuals to do their bit. As seen in: the end of the world is coming!
Leading by example
The choices we make are, in fact, the best examples we can pass on. Some are more obvious than others.
We recently bought an electric car. People ask us questions, even stopping us on the street to do so. Children are intrigued too. And every time someone talks to us about it, it's an opportunity to explain our choice, which is both economical and ecological. So, we've made a choice that's in line with our ecological values, we're setting an example for others, and what's more, it helps us to raise awareness.
Another example is composting. Here, the house is often filled with our children's friends. Let's say a friend eats an apple. Wanting to get rid of his apple core, he looks for the garbage can. Our children tell him straight out that apple core doesn't go in the garbage can. It goes in the compost bin. I can even hear our kids talking about landfill sites and the benefits of composting for our vegetable garden. Bingo, the example has gone a long way!
Get the idea? Whether you eat organic, carpool, have a vegetable garden or wear eco-friendly clothes.... you can serve as an example. Then all you have to do is create the opening to pick up other people's ecological examples and adopt a new behavior at the same time.