If you have an environmental conscience, chances are you are pretty fed up with the way most people treat the environment. They still use plastic bags, non-environmentally friendly products and harsh chemicals on their gardens to name a few. It’s like they are oblivious to the state of the natural world.
Have you ever stopped to think why though? Understanding why people behave the way they do is important in being able to get them to change their ways. I asked friends, work colleagues and relatives why they aren’t treating the environment better. Here are their top five responses:
1. No time.
These people claimed that they are already too pushed for time. Between work and raising kids, they felt they had no time to go out of their way to help the environment more. They said that they simply can’t afford to drive further or spend more time sourcing more ethically responsible products, creating homemade cleaning products, growing their own produce or researching environmentally friendly information. They need convenience over eco-friendly, they said.
I say: Pick just one thing that you could be doing better to help the environment, and do that. Choosing just one thing isn’t overwhelming, and every little bit helps. Before you know it, that one thing will become habit and you won’t even need to think about it. Then you can choose another thing to work on, and that will eventually become habit, and so on and so on…. Within a year, you could become a complete eco-warrior without even having to try very hard.
2. Don’t know how to do better.
Given that looking after the environment has not always been part of the essential curriculum in schools, it is understandable that not everybody knows how to treat the environment well. Heck, 20 years ago, most of the harmful effects we were having on nature were unknown. The people I surveyed who claimed they didn’t know how to do better in the eco stakes, said they simply don’t have any practical information on things they could be doing in their daily lives. If they did, they said they would be doing more.
3. Environmentally friendly products are too expensive.
As the demand for eco-friendly products still don’t outweigh the demand for traditional products, they can’t compete in price. And, as many people are finding it tough financially, they feel that they don’t have a choice but to buy the cheapest options.
I say: The more we choose to spend our money on environmentally friendly products, the more store owners will want to stock them. In short, the more demand there is for these products, the cheaper and more available they become.
4. Nothing I can do would make a difference anyway.
Many people are under the belief that the problems facing the environment are too large to fix these days, so it wouldn’t matter what they did. They think the problems should be dealt with by governments or large corporations who have the resources to create major change.
I say: We can’t think like that. The state of the environment is every single person’s problem, and every single person has the ability to help in some way. The more individuals who start taking responsibility for the damage we have caused, the more power we have to turn things around.
5. The environment doesn’t need my help.
This was a sad one for me to hear. It’s crazy given all the science and documented evidence we have of how much we have damaged the natural world, that people still think we aren’t having much of an impact. Or that the environment will be just fine if we keep on doing the same things.
I say: Yes Mother Nature is amazing, and brilliant, and capable of repairing itself well, but we don’t even give it a chance to do that. All we do is destroy it more and more on a daily basis. The environment does need our help! From every single one of us!
Is there something stopping you from treating the environment better? What is it?