Are you the eco-friendliest person in your home?
Whether you live with a partner, family, roommates or in a communal setting, the people that share your space may be the hardest to green.
The living planet needs us to cut carbon, go zero waste, rethink what we eat, avoid toxic chemicals, reduce consumption, choose active transportation and reconnect with nature. How can you get your kin to buy in?
- Understand and appreciate that most people are doing their best.
- Connect on shared values.
- Host a meeting to co-create house agreements.
Establish green house agreements
Not everyone responds well to rules. Try out these ideas. See what works for your household.
- Bring food and drinks. This boosts energy and promotes conversation. It can also help dodge eye rolling and the “groan zone” — where people get irritated and bring low energy.
- Hold space. Listen more, talk less and ask questions. Trust that you know enough to lead!
- Brainstorm. Ask each person to contribute at least one new idea. Emphasize that no contribution is too small or too big. (Solutions already in your housemates may surprise you.)
- Write agreements down and post for all to see. Use sticky notes on a dedicated wall or bulletin board.
- Set dates for implementation. Consider offering a prize or incentive.
- Gamify. If competition suits your household, create a challenge. Who can save the most water? Whose idea most reduced the power bill?
- Challenge your networks. Invite friends, relatives and/or neighbours to play along.
- Be open. Some things will turn out better than planned!
The best part about going green as a household? Being on a supportive team makes many of us more effective. And collaborative solutions are more likely to work than going it alone.
Lead by example
Whether you decide to implement green agreements or find collaborative ways to help your household take part in new green behaviours, you can inspire those you live with by what you do!
Take time to spell out why you choose to adopt a green habit and the positive impact it has on your life and nature.
- Frequent farmers markets together to get seasonal fruit and vegetables.
- Make delicious salads with edible perennial plants you grew at home.
- Host a clothing swap with family, friends and neighbours.
- Give green gifts e.g., local chocolate in a beeswax wrap, local zero waste soap or shampoo in a reusable bag, etc.
- If you have a yard or access to green space, plant a butterfly garden together.
- Wash and re-use plastic bags.
- Make DIY cleaners.
- Go thrift store shopping together.
Talk about climate change
Conversations about climate change can trigger frustration, despair, anger and embarrassment, but one of the most important things you can do to help with the crisis is talk about it. People trust peers, family members and loved ones more than experts, scientists and environmental organizations.
These resources can help you learn how to discuss global heating in ways that bring people with differing perspectives together over shared values. You can apply these skills to any difficult conversation!
Green household tips from our staff!
We asked David Suzuki Foundation staff about their green household practices:
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