Persuading others you care about — family members, close friends, work associates — to adopt a greener lifestyle can be a difficult task: you talk and talk and talk about all the reasons to live green, they agree with you, and — a week later with no noticeable change in their habits — you start the challenge all over again.

More often than not, if you’re making your case well without being preachy or strident, others will nod and say, “Yes, you’re right. We should all consume less, waste less and take care of our planet.” But actually persuading people to make meaningful changes themselves, that’s hard. Old habits aren’t easy to break, even when you know they’re not good for you.

Maybe the answer lies in a more compelling way to make your case, a way that makes the need for green living more urgent and more personal:

1. Do it for yourself. Just read the labels on our foods, drinks, personal-care items and household products; they sound like chemistry experiments more than things from nature. While industry types insist today’s additives, pesticides, preservatives and other compounds have never been proven to harm people, these products are simply not a part of nature, which we’re also part of. It only makes sense that keeping things as natural and simple as you can is best … and most healthful.

2. Do it for your kids and grandkids. Despite how we appear to live our lives, as if everything today will always be available, no matter when, the natural resources we depend on are finite. Bottom line: the more clean water, clean air, rich topsoil, mined metal and fossil fuel you consume today, the less there will be for your children and grandchildren. And if you’re consuming wastefully AND not recycling, the path toward depletion is even faster.

3. Do it for the planet that gives you life. You depend on the Earth every day for the most basic of needs: air with just the right mixture of necessary natural gases (nitrogen, oxygen) and as few contaminants as possible; wholesome food with the calories, nutrients and minerals you need to survive; climate that supports the vital systems of agriculture, industry and society that enable our survival. For all its apparent robustness, the world is a delicate system: tip one feature (greenhouse gases, for example) too far out of balance, and many other pieces also quickly fall out of place. Honor the Earth that nurtures you by respecting and caring for it at least as much as you care for, clean and maintain your home, garage and backyard.


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