In the last few days I’ve been involved in a conversation over here. You can go read it if you want, since I’m not going to re-hash the whole thing. I made some snarky comments, which I shouldn’t have, since they detracted from the message I was trying to convey.
As a side note, I think I never would have been involved in the conversation if I wasn’t on maternity leave, with time to spare reading blogs and going through the comments more than one time while I nurse my baby. You can get a little cabin feverish when you’re used to going to work and being with people all day and then suddenly you’re at home while all your friends are at work, with nothing but internet to connect you to the outside world. At least that seems to be how it has worked for me. But I digress…
Anyway, the whole thing got me thinking about how we as environmentalists convey our message of sustainability. For those of us looking to live more sustainable lifestyles, it’s important to realize that we’re not all at the same point on our journey. To use the “green” terminology, we’re all different shades of green, for a variety of reasons. As an environmentalist and as an environmental educator, I feel a responsibility to encourage people to care for the planet.
It’s tough to not be judgemental when we encounter people who might be better compared to “brown” than “green.” But I think it’s important to step back, away from being judgemental, and realize that we are all different. Even if it seems clear that someone will never choose to care for the Earth, I think it’s important to keep the lines of communication open. I’ve always thought we can “catch more flies with honey than vinegar,” and I’ve written before about how I think it’s important for environmentalists to be role models and how our actions can speak louder than words. I have lots of friends and family members who aren’t as eco-conscious as I am, but I’m not going to cut ties or start arguments with them. And I wouldn’t refuse a new friendship based on someone’s shade of green (or brown). How would I be able to spread my sustainable message if I refused to speak to someone? And not to mention, nobody’s perfect. Certainly not me! But that’s a post for another day.
What do you think? Am I less of an environmentalist if I associate with people who don’t care about the environment? Or is that an important part of being an environmentalist in the first place?