Wednesday, 22 July 2020

GUEST POST: Convincing the less motivated, environmentalism for everyone

 

I'm really excited to share my first guest post with you guys. When I first spoke to Lisa we immediately clicked and realised we shared a passion for both psychology and the environment, so when she said she would love to write about this on my blog I was so happy to have her as my first guest. I would highly recommend Lisa's blog for the benefit of both your physical and mental health!

Hi there, nice to meet you! My name is Lisa, I am a consumer psychologist and the writer of the blog Mind and Body Intertwined. If you know my blog a little, you’ll know that I am pretty passionate about the environment, however, this was not always the case. One day, it suddenly hit me that I could actually make a difference and that I wanted to be a part of this environmental movement that is so necessary to save our planet. But why did it click then? What happened that suddenly changed my mind? Here are some things you can do to convince others take the same steps to save our planet (without being rude).

 

Don’t preach to them, try to convert them or shame others

No one likes to be preached to about things they don’t care about, so don’t even try. The only thing it’ll likely do for you is that it’ll cost you friends. In addition, people are more likely to feel threatened and act even worse than they did before.

 

This works the same with trying to convert people. The harder you’re pulling, the more likely they’ll run away from you. People do love to join groups, but only when they feel like they are similar to that group already in some way. Since that is not the case now and they’re not even aspiring to be similar, there is no reason for them to want to join.

 

Another thing I see happening is shaming. The times I’ve seen someone naming and shaming influencers for not being environmentally aware or using products that are tested on animals is countless. Besides it just being nasty behaviour and being a form of bullying in my opinion, there is also another reason why it doesn’t work. Studies found that we love to copy behaviours from others, even if that behaviour is looked down upon. For instance, there has been a huge increase in people drinking too much after several campaigns that showed drunk people in embarrassing positions. Although they tried to communicate ‘Look, this look ridiculous, you don’t want to be like this’, they’ve communicated ‘Look, others are doing it as well!’. Although this process is unconscious, it is a very strong factor in behaviour. Therefore, naming and shaming will likely have the opposite effect. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s go to what you should do!

 

Be the example

Instead of naming and shaming others, be the right example yourself. Show them how you take environmentally friendly steps, show them your reusable coffee cup, be proud of your reusable produce bags and reusable straws. If others see the right behaviours around them themselves, they’ll be far more likely to comply and start doing it themselves as well. And you can do this on your social media channels as well or introduce the person you’d like to ‘change’ to other friends of yours that are more environmentally friendly. A soft and kind nudge is a stronger pull than a heavy push will ever be.

 

Make it easy

Many environmentally friendly steps are actually not that big of an effort, like switching to another toothbrush, buying the cucumber without the plastic wrapping or trying a cruelty free haircare brand. However, you can make it easier for them by introducing them to the products, instead of them having to do the research all by themselves. You shouldn’t even make a big deal out of it, just invite them to a dinner at your place and cook vegan, let them taste how awesome it can be. This might not immediately convince them to go vegan, but it can convince them that some meals don’t need meat, which is already a good step. I don’t normally eat vegan or even vegetarian, but I wouldn’t trade in my ‘sneaky pasta bolognese’ in for anything! Let them dip their toes in a little before you expect them to jump in head first! For instance, I convinced many of my friends to use some products from The Body Shop, not because they’re cruelty free but because they’re just that good. The result? They are regular customers and they’re using cruelty free, less wasting products without even fully being aware. I didn’t lie, I just convinced them with other arguments than the environmental one.

 

Small effects

And if we are talking about small steps, you should also be aware of the small, but visible effects. We know from several studies that people are more likely to care about things in the near future than they do about things far away. So, when promoting a certain action, you should also focus on the immediate effects. For instance, it’s more effective to say you’ll save 500 euros a year with solar panels, than 2500 in 5 years. Although the amount is obviously higher, it feels like so far away that you can’t depend on it, therefore, the first argument is the stronger one.

 

In addition, the effect should be tangible. Saying ‘you’re saving so many kWh by taking the stairs every day for a month’ is not as tangible as ‘taking the stairs for a month will save the same amounts of energy as charging your phone 300 times’ (this is an example, I have no idea how much it saves). Therefore, the second example is much more likely to motivate people to act environmentally friendly. This way, they have something tangible to feel proud of.

 

Of course, there are many more ways to get people to act for the greater good, but it is impossible to talk about all of them here. However, I do hope that you liked reading this article and that you have gotten some inspiration on how to spread the message in a kind, non-invasive, but effective way. If you did like this post, please subscribe to my blog or follow me on the following social channels for more: InstagramPinterestTwitter!

 

Lots of love,

 

Lisa from Mind and Body Intertwined





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27 comments

  1. lovely well written post! In the ideal world everyone will pull together to help the environment!

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    Replies
    1. It's great isn't it! Yeah it would be amazing if everyone did a little bit to help!

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  2. This is a super interesting post! Thank you to Lisa for writing this piece!

    Amber - The Unpredicted Page

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    Replies
    1. I'm so happy my first guest post was such a fab one! Lisa is such a great writer x

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  3. This is super interesting to read. I'm trying to improve my environment and sustainability impacts and this is really useful to me, and perfectly written. Thank you for sharing/guest posting!

    Paige // Paige Eades

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you find it so useful! Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment!

      Delete
  4. Great guest post! I love her point about not preaching. That never works and is more likely to turn people off than convert them to something!

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    Replies
    1. Yes totally agree I am always trying to be conscious that I'm not preaching when talking about this type of thing!

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