Friends who don't care about the environment? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 04-21-2008, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What do you do about friends who don't care about the environment; the ones who are very wasteful? I like to beat my head against the wall, so I bring it up and offer them unsolicited and unwanted advice and opinions at every opportunity. DH says I'd better knock it off, that I'm as bad as one of those religious fanatics and eventually I'll end up with no one to hang out with me (except you gals online eh?). I just find it infuriating that some not only do not recycle, even as I offered to do it for them if they would just collect their recyclables for me. I asked one today if I bought her and her husband a really nice water bottle each if they would stop using their plastic bottles (which they use at home too, so go through loads of them and do not recycle the bottles) and she said no. :-( Same friend btw throws away all her plastic blinds every 6 mos or so (about 10 sets) and buys new ones because she figures its easier than dusting them and they are cheap at WalMart. I hate being so bossy, but I feel so passionately about it it is hard for me to just stand by and watch. Its sort of like being an animal rights advocate and then just hanging out with someone while they starve their cat or beat their dog. Claudey help me stop being so sanctimonious. How do you handle that, just myob?

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#2 of 22 Old 04-21-2008, 05:53 PM
 
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I know what you mean...and I don't know how to handle it either. I just recently had a friend tell me that she got compact florescent bulbs...she knew I'd be proud of her. Her husband chimed in and told me it was only to save them money though....NOT to save the environment!!! I couldn't believe he had to go out of his way to tell me he didn't care about the evironment in case I started thinking he cared. It's frustrating. On one hand they are always talking about how beautiful our yard was and how I'm a stickler about cleaning my house but then they say that they have to use chemicals and pesticides to have a nice yard and clean house. It makes no sense...compliment me and then tell me to get the same results you have to hurt the environment. You would think they would see our results and know how easy and effective "natural" gardening and cleaning is!
Anyway, it is straining on a friendship to say the least.
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#3 of 22 Old 04-21-2008, 06:08 PM
 
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I have a 'friend' like that, the thing that bothers me the most about her is she won't even buy healthier and safer baby and kids products for her kids- mainly b/c she is a very cheap person. And I don't mean frugal, I mean miserly cheap.

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#4 of 22 Old 04-21-2008, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a 'friend' like that, the thing that bothers me the most about her is she won't even buy healthier and safer baby and kids products for her kids- mainly b/c she is a very cheap person. And I don't mean frugal, I mean miserly cheap.
My friend is like that as well, like they go out to eat often but then only tip like 10%- to me that is cheap not frugal. But with the water-bottle thing, what gives? She said that the water in their house is filtered and she likes it, so if I bought them bottles as say their anniversary gift, why would she refuse to use them? It would be cheaper right? Its almost like she takes pleasure in doing the wrong thing. Sorry to turn it into a rant, its just that most people are at least open to the possibility of changing at least one little thing, especially in the interest of saving money (like your neighbors).

One example: I asked her to please save her babyfood jars for me (her son was eating 2-4 jars at each meal at the time) so I could use them for a craft. After reminding her many times, she finally brought me ONE jar. It just makes me crazy to think of the hundreds of glass jars in the landfill that someone else could have actually used kwim? Geeze-o-petes I need to have some patience.

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#5 of 22 Old 04-22-2008, 01:39 AM
 
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I cringe when I see friends and extended family members throw recyclables in the garbage, and now that I compost I can't stand to see compotables being trashed either.
The problem is that nobody likes to be preached to and made to feel wrong or guilty. I find it's best to chime in only when asked or when these issues come up naturally in conversation, unless someone is syaing something way off like "well, they pick all the recylables out of the garbage anyways." Then I'm gonna call BS, but the rest of the time I think people resond best to a positive appoach like when someone compliments you on something in your home, let them know it was grown organically or sustainably harvested or let them know how much you enjoy getting out for a walk and not having to fight traffic etc.
If a friend shows interest in discussing environmental issues that cocern me, then I share with them what I've learned about the more depressing side of the story because anger can be a huge motivator for real change. But ranting to people who don't want to hear about isn't gonna change anyone's mind. IME, inspiration is more powerful than guilt.

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#6 of 22 Old 04-22-2008, 08:54 AM
 
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Almost everyone I know IRL is like that. I just try to be a good example because even though recycling is the law here, so many people throw everything in the garbage (even though recycling is the law here) and do other things that are just so damaging to the earth. Like idling; mom idles her car for realy long periods of time (think up to an hour to "warm up"). But it would benefit everyone if she didn't. Plus my brother picked up on this bad habit.

I am in charge of a monthly women's event at church and I wanted to host a Story Of Stuff party and teach them fun ways to be enviromentally friendly. The person who approves what we do blankly looked at me while I was pitching and when I was done said that no one was interested in that kind of thing and that sound like the most boring thing you could do. So much for wanting to share the love :

I used to get a lot of funny looks for my bags and totes when I shop. I think people are starting to catch on to this because reusable bags are so sturdy, can hold more plus they look really cool

I know there are many more things but basically, some people just aren't willing to change and it's a shame.
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#7 of 22 Old 04-22-2008, 09:43 AM
 
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I am in charge of a monthly women's event at church and I wanted to host a Story Of Stuff party and teach them fun ways to be enviromentally friendly. The person who approves what we do blankly looked at me while I was pitching and when I was done said that no one was interested in that kind of thing and that sound like the most boring thing you could do. So much for wanting to share the love :
now that the pope says that its a sin to pollute how can they say no.
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#8 of 22 Old 04-22-2008, 07:18 PM
 
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Girls, I completely understand- here's my story. As a part of a student community of an ivy league mba program last year, I guessed everyone was so 'well educated' and thus 'concious' too. Soon realised how wrong I was to assume the two words together. When my peers noticed I was making earth friendly and healthy choices, they made it a point to comment that I was 'that kind'! It was too much of a chore to dump the daily newspaper into the assigned bin placed right next to the regular trash shoot for one and another told me her home does not use enough plastics for it to be worthwhile to recycle that.... one more told me its too time consuming and could not accommodate even the most basic choices into her lifestyle. What do we say to these folks or do about it!?! Would they really listen to what a person of 'that kind' has to say? I get the feeling now that green is in, these very same girls would have things to say and do about green choices- wear hemp or get bamboo towels. Guess its the mindset of the person that cannot be easily changed and its certainly very frustrating for folks like us.
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#9 of 22 Old 04-22-2008, 07:28 PM
 
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I don't really try to change others- I do the best I can personally and hope to set a good example.

If somebody was truly as "environmentally lazy" as some of the people described on this thread, I doubt we'd ever be more than aquantances- our values would be too different and we'd just not have enough in common for a true friendship to grow.

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#10 of 22 Old 04-22-2008, 11:34 PM
 
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But ranting to people who don't want to hear about isn't gonna change anyone's mind. IME, inspiration is more powerful than guilt.
: and also to the PPs who say they just try to lead by example.

When you just focus on living the best way you can, it's amazing how many people you can inspire. It may take a while, and you may not always know that you've done it, but it does happen. Every little bit helps. And as frustrating as it may be for those of us who are ready for this whole mess to turn around already, I find it helpful to remember that changing an entire country's lifestyle habits is going to take time and patience.

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#11 of 22 Old 04-23-2008, 08:05 AM
 
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I agree completely with previous posters who say you must lead by example. It's the "You catch more flies with honey" mindset. Especially if you can show them that you save money or streamline you life. If something is easier or works better, people get interested. One example is using vinegar. Some of my family members who aren't concerned for the environment use vinegar instead of fabric softener and floorwash because it just works better than mainstream products with our hard water! Just had a new convert this weekend !

That being said, I do get frustrated with their complete lack of concern for the world around them and I sometimes need a break from them and their obsessive overconsumption (and their refusal to recycle). However, they are my family and I love them to death. They enrich my life in so many ways. So, I do my best to look at the positives and to set a good example.
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#12 of 22 Old 04-23-2008, 11:55 AM
 
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I just try to lead by example. It can be frustrating, esp. since my own husband is dreadfully non-environmentally friendly. people come around though. I've never been one to preach but I'm passionate about the things I do so I do talk about it from time to time. People notice. I've had a friend and my mom both recently ask me about my grocery bags and my recipes for homemade cleaners. It's a start
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#13 of 22 Old 04-23-2008, 08:42 PM
 
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I, too, lead by example. I think preaching can really turn some people off and end up with undesired results. I look at it the same way with all my AP stuff...no one really wants to be ranted at and told they're doing things wrong. I'm very open with my greenness and my AP lifestyle so people can be inspired by my example. If someone asks me about it then I answer honestly and do my best to educate. Sometimes, I throw in the old, "when ya know better, ya do better" line if I'm feeling snarky. Other than that, it's monkey see, monkey do for me.

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#14 of 22 Old 04-23-2008, 11:16 PM
 
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Mostly I try to lead by positive example, although occasionally I'll complain, but do it in a way that isn't directed at the person with the problem. For instance, if I notice someone in our playgroup throws out a lot of trash, I'll wait until a non-trash day for them and then mention how depressing it is driving through my neighbourhood because of the huge bags of waste, especially all the visible recyclables in there.

There is some value in society shaming waste, but some people will inevitably react badly regardless of what we do.

Oh, and I think it's very different than religion...if someone is forcing their religion on me, that is a personal matter and totally uncool. But we all share the environment equally, as do our future generations, so I think it's totally fine to talk about it. :

In the end, I've found I've convinced more people by casually mention good green stuff I do that saves money or is good in some other way, like I'll always talk up the pros of cloth diapering but I'm also always honest about the cons so nobody can accuse me of trying to trick them into it. I like to sneak in comments that admit a con but where it's still better than the non-green alternative, like if I hear someone complaining that they have to go out and buy more diapers because they're almost out, I'll laugh and say, "Yeah, I have to wash my daughter's diapers when I get home but at least it's just a quick dump into the wash, turn on the machine, and I'm done, versus having to drive to the store in traffic on a hot day."

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#15 of 22 Old 04-24-2008, 01:15 PM
 
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My biggest offenders are in the family. My husband went out Saturday and sprayed weed killer around the house and when I was complaining about it to his mom the other day (as they ate dinner on paper plates) she told me I have to let him put down "Weed and Feed" to grow the grass and get rid of my dandelions. That I shouldn't worry, it will get worked into the dirt when it rains and so it won't effect my kids or dog. I have to charge my 17 yr old daughter $1 every time she tosses a recyclable into the trash at home. My dad even offered to buy me paper towels! I feel I have yet to make a dent even in the lives of those around me!
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#16 of 22 Old 04-24-2008, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My biggest offenders are in the family. My husband went out Saturday and sprayed weed killer around the house and when I was complaining about it to his mom the other day (as they ate dinner on paper plates) she told me I have to let him put down "Weed and Feed" to grow the grass and get rid of my dandelions. That I shouldn't worry, it will get worked into the dirt when it rains and so it won't effect my kids or dog. I have to charge my 17 yr old daughter $1 every time she tosses a recyclable into the trash at home. My dad even offered to buy me paper towels! I feel I have yet to make a dent even in the lives of those around me!
On the rizzle, DH is horrible about it too, I have to pretty much follow around after him picking up his recyclables out of the trash.

Book lovin librarian nerd mama to Caleb 6/06 and Aiden 4/09: and 1 angel 11/07. "No one cries alone in my presence."
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#17 of 22 Old 04-24-2008, 05:08 PM
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My biggest offenders are in the family. My husband went out Saturday and sprayed weed killer around the house and when I was complaining about it to his mom the other day (as they ate dinner on paper plates) she told me I have to let him put down "Weed and Feed" to grow the grass and get rid of my dandelions.
Killing the dandelions?! That's perfectly good FOOD!
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#18 of 22 Old 04-28-2008, 03:09 PM
 
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I can hardly hang out with my friends who don't recycle. When I do, I always pack my recyclables home with me and have a very hard time not digging through their trash. It makes me so sad.

I try to be very positive when I say anything about recycling or reusing. On earth day I went out for ice cream with them and we were at a place that uses trash cups and plastic spoons : When we were done I said, I have an idea, since it's earth day, let's reuse our spoons! They were totally into it

I know it's not ideal to do that sort of thing just because it's earth day but it kept 3 plastic spoons out of the landfill that day
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#19 of 22 Old 04-28-2008, 10:46 PM
 
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I know what you mean! We went to my sister-in-law's for a party the other day. They had styrofoam plates, cans of pop, and water bottles-all in the trash. I fought the urge to pick through her trash REALLY hard.

I recently made my own laundry soap-and I've been telling anyone who will listen about it. My inlaws just look at me funny & shake their heads. I guess I'll be the one saving money AND the environment. Hmph.
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#20 of 22 Old 04-29-2008, 09:28 AM
 
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I have a friend who seems to be my complete opposite in every way. We joke that we have absolutely nothing in common, but get along great in spite of it. Anyway, I was hoping that some of my better habits would rub off on her and so did her husband, but unfortunately it hasn't happened yet.

As I mentioned on another post, her township now pays homeowners up to $30/a month in Target or Home Depot cards if they recycle. So NOW she's doing it. Before I would take her recyclables with me. Of course she'd make fun and call me an "Earth Nerd," but at least she's recycling now. It may be for the "wrong" reason, to ultimately consume more, but...

She would also make fun of me for not feeding my children junk food, reading labels, avoiding things that contain HFCS, etc, but when her husband offered to buy her a new piece of jewelry or furniture every month that she fed her children healthy foods and snacks, she changed what she was feeding them. (Although she still sneaks the unhealthy stuff in when he's not around. At least they are getting more fruit though...)

She still thinks I'm an Earth Nerd. She doesn't care about the environment, but I'll keep working on her. It may take a while. With me in her ear and her dh's bribes, maybe one day it will click.

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#21 of 22 Old 04-29-2008, 09:39 AM
 
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Maybe this is harsh, but I find as an environmentalist, it is such a big part of my life that I tend to be friends with like-minded people. I find that those who don't care about the environment parent differently and have different interests so it ends up not being too much of a problem. Do you have lots of other things in common with the friends that don't recycle?
Perhaps you could seek out people with more in common with you and spend less time with those who have different interests. It won't help convince your other friends to take care of the earth, but might lead you to less stressful relationships!
When you do hang out with your non-earth friendly friends- try having them to your house where you can be an extra good example of an earth friendly person without being offensive and prophesizing (sp?) to the point that it drives them away.
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#22 of 22 Old 04-29-2008, 02:18 PM
 
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I agree with a lot of the sentiments here. My dh and I try to lead by example (especially with our son). While most of the people I know are woefully ignorant of how their wastefulness affects the environment, some are beginning to notice what we do and ask us about: composting, buying local/organic products, recycling, reusing, green cleaning/gardening practices, etc. We are always extolling the virtues of doing these things...and try to show that making earth-friend decisions doesn't have to be "hard work", but is easy and sometimes fun to incorporate into your live. (For example we made hand-made gifts for all our family last Christmas - most of which were clever reuses old things).

Not to be too hard on the human race, but I think that it boils down to most people just being lazy...They don't want to take that extra 30 seconds to wash out a tin can or take dinner scraps to the composter. The other problem is that most people are too far removed from food-production, industry, and waste-removal, so they don't have any idea of the scale of the environmental problem...especially when there are still politicians who claim that global warming doesn't exist! It's going to take a major shift in our social mind-set to get threw to some people. Now that being green is getting some press, perhaps more people will start getting on board.
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