Sometimes I get frustrated that other people don’t do things that I see as very obvious (and easy) eco-friendly choices.
This is unhelpful for a couple of reasons:
- My opinions and frustrations don’t really affect other people. They have other priorities and reasons for doing things.
- Kindness always wins over anger. (This is also why I try to always smile when I ride my bike. Usually it isn’t hard as riding brings me great joy, but some drivers…)
It is more helpful to remember that everyone is on their own journey and at different stages along it. New ideas take time to sink in and result in behaviour change.
I know this from my own experiences:
- I learnt the motto ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ in early primary school, I even remember composing a song about it. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I made myself some fabric bags and started seriously trying to eliminate the waste I generated.
- In early high school, a sports teacher suggested to us that we could ride our bikes to school. Even though my dad always rode to work, I never really considered it as a transport choice for myself. (to be fair, I walked to school anyway). It wasn’t until a couple of years into uni when I was challenged again that I started riding my bike basically everywhere.
- Also in a high school geography class, during an exercise where we had to rank different activities as they related to impact on climate change, there was ‘eating a hamburger’ as one of the items. I put it right down the bottom as I had no idea about the environmental impacts of eating meat (such as methane emissions and deforestation). Even after learning about these impacts, it took a couple of false starts over a few years before finally becoming vegetarian.
But! It is still worth speaking up in a friendly and constructive way. A colleague kept asking me which bin to use for the packaging from his apples (to his credit, it was recyclable cardboard). After a couple of times I asked why he didn’t just buy apples without packaging. The next day he very proudly showed me the naked apples he had purchased – for pretty much the same price as the packaged apples.
I need to remember to be helpful and offer suggestions. But always be kind.
(Photos of taken a few years ago at the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens. Wales is lovely and green, but sometimes I really miss Australian flora.)