How to Start the Sustainability Conversation
July 10, 2019 | Kathryn Kellogg
Last Updated on May 6, 2021
It’s hard to walk that line. You know the one I’m talking about?
The one where you happily and actively talk to your friends about the environment vs. jumping down everyone’s throat and getting yourself un-invited from all social events… Yeah, that line.
In this post, I’m going to outline a few of the ways I’ve been able to navigate these tricky waters and how I spread the sustainability message without coming off like a jerk.
I have retained all of my party invites AND when my friends throw parties and they have disposables… they put out a real plate, cup, and cutlery just for me. #Special
MINI has launched a new campaign #ChargedWithPassion to celebrate the first all-electric MINI which is coming out next year! I am so excited and really hope they remake the Italian Job (my favorite movie in middle school) with a fleet of all-electric MINI.
How amazing would that be!? Stealing a bunch of gold has never been more eco-friendly.
(Side note: eco-friendly gold is a whole ‘nother blog post I’m working on.)
If you’re following me on Instagram, you might remember that I attended Urban-X built by MINI last year.
A conference and incubator that focuses on the idea of creating a more sustainable world.
The conference focuses on seven main areas like real estate and construction, infrastructure, mobility, food, water, and energy.
The idea is to bring sustainability to these areas so we can scale them for not only a sustainable future but a regenerative one.
There is so much room to innovate in this space, and I love that MINI is opening up these conversations.
I have teamed up with them to share what charges me with passion, and if you haven’t figured it out already – sustainability lights me up!
I love getting to share good news about the planet and being able to talk to others about how they can create a healthier life for themselves and the mama Earth.
Did you know air pollution is the number one killer in the world? Yep.
People die from lack of access to clean resources like air, water, and a new study found that one person in a developing country dies every 30 seconds from plastic pollution.
These problems aren’t only environmental issues; they’re also health issues.
Wellness of self and the planet are inextricably linked. Fighting for healthier world charges me with passion.
I want a world powered by renewables not just because it’s great for the environment, but because I believe access to clean air and water is a human right.
And one of the best ways to address these problems is to simply talk about them.
Katherine Hayhoe, one of my personal heroes, has a great Ted Talk focusing on this subject. We’re scared to talk about these problems, but it’s one of the best things that we can do.
Here are a few of my tips to get that conversation started.
I’m sure you’ve heard, “Actions speak louder than words?” Well, it’s certainly true! I can’t tell you how many times people stop and ask me about my reusable bags at the grocery store or bringing my own tin to get takeout.
People are curious. They want to know why you’re doing something.
This opens up a door for non-confrontational dialogue where you can share what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, the positive impact it’s having, and then encourage them to do the same.
My best tip is to be prepared with a few sentences!
- Woman at Deli (WaD): Why are you getting your food to-go in there?
- Me: I try to avoid single-use plastics for health reasons, and it also keeps the food WAY fresher.
- WaD: plastic’s bad for our health?
- Me: Yeah, unfortunately, they can leach endocrine-disrupting hormones into our food so I try to avoid them, they’re also a huge problem for the environment.
WaD: Oh, I’m going to bring a container next time, that’s smart.Me: You should! I promise your food will last so much longer too. Give it a try.
share something really good:
When you are the first person to initiate the I LOVE THE PLANET conversation, I find that sharing something super awesome is a great way of breaking down that barrier.
For instance, “Did you hear? Vermont just banned all single-use plastics!” or “MINI is coming out with an all-electric MINI!”
When you share how excited you are about something that’s happening, it’s not seen as an attack or a judgment just something that charges you with passion!
After I share how excited I am about the all-electric MINI, then I can easily talk about how much I want a remake of the Italian Job a lot of other issues like the future of transportation is powered by renewable energy.
How this facilitates the energy transition and switching over the gird. How we can encourage solar panels, solar batteries, and become independent from fossil fuels.
The future of transportation is so multi-pronged, but it’s definitely more carpooling, more bike lanes, more and better public transit, electric vehicles and it’s all going to be powered by renewable energy.
When I think about that I get goosebumps.
Did you know 11 countries have banned the sale of fossil-fuel vehicles? Yup.
Gas powered vehicle sales are dropping and peak oil demand is expected to crest in this decade according to Bloomberg.
I think this is SO exciting. It’s expected that batteries in EVs are only going to hold more charge and be able to charge in 3-5 minutes. Wouldn’t that be amazing!
See, I can just tangent away.
My excitement is so genuine, and I’m bubbling up with all this good news my friends and family can’t help but go along.
But, now all my friends reading this are realizing how often they’ve been played. Sorry not sorry. You love it.
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3. be passive:
One of the best ways to speak about the planet is indirectly. When you’re speaking indirectly you’re either framing the subject matter as purely personal or you’re talking about it via social media.
For instance, every now and then share an article or video about environmentalism on your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram stories.
These platforms are yours and you can share what you want.
Sharing tips for living more eco-friendly to a BUNCH of people makes it more passive which can open up conversations with people you might not have thought interested otherwise.
Another passive way of talking about something is by focusing on the personal aspect.
I tend to do this A LOT. You can see from the earlier conversation at the deli, I started by talking about my health.
People, especially strangers, tend to understand a selfish action more than a selfless action.
I always make all of my exchanges selfish because it encourages others to try it!
For instance which of these sounds more appealing?
- do something for someone else.
- do something good for you that saves you money and helps you live a happier and healthier life.
I’m going to go with option 2. And, as a bonus, option 2 also helps with option 1. So, now you know, lead with the personal benefits.
You should absolutely talk about the benefits to the planet, just make sure you really emphasize those personal benefits too.
When we talk about big issues, it’s so important to tell a story to find that through line, the points that connect all of us.
It’s not that we’re not trying to talk about the Earth it’s just that the Earth isn’t that personal to most of us.
We need to find points of connection that we can relate to and typically that starts with some form of personal connection.
Show people how it’s done! You want to get your friends and family amped about the shopping plastic free, take them on a trip to the bulk store.
You want to show your mom that second-hand shopping can be cool, take her to a really nice consignment boutique full of her favorite designers.
Want to show everyone how cool an electric car can be, share this video with them.
You want to show your fam how delicious plant-based dinners can be, invite them over for a dinner party.
You want to prove that throwing a zero waste party is a lot easier than it sounds – live it up with all your friends and fam so they can see how low maintenance the clean-up can be!
I really hope that you can use a few of these tricks to help spark the sustainability conversation with your friends and family.
I would love to know which tip you plan on implementing first?
I also want to thank MINI for sponsoring this post. I am so happy to be working with them and sharing what charges me with passion!