Before the month of love is out, here are some tips for people who want to go green, but are not sure how to get their partner to commit.
1. Set the Ground Rules
First and foremost ask yourself why it is important for you to make eco-friendly changes to your lifestyle. Because I have always loved all creatures great and small, I want to live in a way that respects the interdependent web of life, and make choices that help to support a harmonious environment. With love and harmony as my baseline reasons for making eco-friendly choices, I feel that it would be not only counter-productive, but also hypocritical to fight with my husband about going green. Of course I am occasionally annoyed when I have to unplug cell phone chargers and rescue recyclables from the garbage can, but I have vowed to lead by example rather than correct or criticize.
If your reason for making eco-friendly changes is to be healthier, or you want your children to have a safe, non-toxic environment, be sure that stress or conflict does not overshadow the lifestyle changes that you want to make.
2. There is an “I” in family
You may be familiar with the expression, “There is no I in team,” which advocates setting aside personal goals and egos, in favor of doing what is best for the team. While it is important to put the partnership first, it is also important to recognize that we are individuals who bring unique strengths to the relationship. I can’t expect my husband to be as passionate about recycling as I am, but I can take responsibility for putting out the trash and recycling each week. Focus on what you can do and don’t judge or impose your will on others.
3. Defer to the Pros
Many of the changes I have made are due to articles I have read in various environmental publications. I don’t know about your household, but generally, “I read that you should…” is met with a bit of resistance. I have found that a better approach is to say, “I just read an interesting article. I’m curious to hear what you think.”
4. Keep Track of Your Stats
Have you saved money at the grocery store now that you stopped buying red meat? Have you stopped having to take allergy pills now that you switched to all natural cleaning products? Have you saved money on your electric bill since using a Smart Strip power strip? Be sure to highlight all the good that has come out of the changes that you have made.
5. Go out to the Park
Going green is fun! It’s not all about installing energy and water saving devices. Take a trip to farmer’s market at a nearby park, stay at an eco-friendly bed and breakfast, or have a date night out at a local microbrewery.
6. Be a Cheerleader
Be sure to applaud your partner’s efforts. Even though he didn’t buy the organic bananas, at least he remembered to use the cloth shopping bags! By finding the good in ourselves, in others, and in the daily choices that we make, we play a vital role in creating a more healthy, peaceful and sustainable future.