Not everyone in this world is concerned about healthy choices or the environment.
So often, just as you’re ready to starting living a more Accidentally Green kind of life, your family and friends aren’t on board with you. (“You’re the one who’s changed and gotten all crunchy! Why should I have to change my life?”)
If you’re the one who’s researching about what’s healthy and what’s not, it’s very common for others to believe things really can’t be that bad. (“I mean, it’s just a bunch of conspiracy theories from tree-hugging hippies, right? The government wouldn’t allow companies to put harmful chemicals in everyday products, right?”)
What do you do if you’re convinced you need to make healthier choices, but the people you’re living with think you’ve gone off the deep end?
There certainly are many approaches to take to this situation. You could always demand that healthy changes be made right away and completely offend your spouse, children or roommate when you throw away their favorite yet toxic shampoos, toothpastes, or travel mugs.
That’s not very effective, though.
I’d suggest a kinder, gentler approach. Take time to politely educate others when they notice you’re making small changes. Most people genuinely want to know why you would choose to make your own chicken nuggets instead of buying the frozen, processed variety. Or why you decide to throw away your entire cosmetic collection.
Remember how you started along your greener journey. If you’re anything like me, it was a gradual process. You probably didn’t wake up one morning and decide to pitch everything containing Bisphenol A, flame retardants, phthalates and parabens. Most likely, you culled toxic products once you slowly became aware of the dangers.
For the friends and family members you rarely see, don’t make your green lifestyle a huge issue.
If you’re worried about GMOs or artificial colors, weigh the importance before complaining about unhealthy food at the next potluck. Try to eat as healthfully as you can, and wait until you can host an event. Or, simply offer to make the meal if it’s a huge deal for you.
Similarly, try to not make a huge fuss about toxic cleaning products if you’re just a visitor. If you’re worried that all the poisonous bath spray will leach from the bathtub into the bathwater, skip giving your baby a bath when you’re an overnight guest.
Here to stay
When you live with someone who has no interest in living a greener, healthier life, it’s trickier. Certain issues may become confrontational, depending on the personalities involved.
Personally, I’d aim for a kinder, gentler approach again – because you can catch more flies with sugar than with vinegar. Try to live your Accidentally Green kind of life as best as you can, and see if your housemates notice a difference.
Although it entails a lot more work, offer to do all the shopping, cooking and cleaning, if healthy choices really matter to you. Chances are, other people will be happy to have less work, even if they know they’ll need to use or consume the green products you buy or make.
In the beginning, establishing a greener routine was fairly easy for me because my husband was on board with most changes. He refuses to even contemplate switching to any of the practices I covered in my I may be green, but I’m not THAT green series, though. (In fact, I can’t even mention family cloth or the Diva cup without hearing a grossed out “I-don’t-want-to-hear-about-this! Stop-telling-me-any-details!!!”)
Right now, my family is in the middle of a moving transition and we’re living with my parents until we find a new house. This green living topic is very real to me, because my parents aren’t as green as my husband and I are. I’m trying to pick up a lot of the cleaning chores and cooking so I can maintain our lifestyle choices until we have our own home again.
Now it’s your turn! Please share what works and doesn’t work for you in these kinds of green/non-green situations.
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