Photo: Can you really change the world around you?

Global footprint (Credit: Dekade via Flickr)

Individuals play an important role in societal change. Information is not enough. Small steps can move people from concern to action and there's research to show exactly that.

This Earth Week, CBC asked me to help inspire an average Canadian hockey family to grow from their pale green ways to a slightly darker shade. It was a kind of eco-lifestyle assessment and I was their personal trainer. Here's the story that ran on The National.

What tips would you give the Shackles?

Here are some steps I suggested they use to turn Earth Day into Earth Week and beyond...

Step 1. Start with what you love
Any successful journey of change should begin with what you love. Starting with something you are passionate about (e.g., gardening, cooking, cycling, etc) increases your chances of sticking with it. When you encounter challenges along the way, you will be more likely to see them through and find creative solutions.

Step 2. Focus
Once you focus, it's easier to grow the scope of what you know. Let's say you love gardening — growing your own food and flowers. Your next step might be learning how to compost. If you've ever bought a bag of soil, you know you have a vested interest in actually making your own! The big picture benefit is reducing the waste you take to the curb each week by about 40 per cent. Bigger still, you'll help ensure fewer food scraps head for the landfill and you'll lower green house gas emissions — methane in particular.

Step 3. Share your knowledge
Did you know that some of the most trusted advisors in people's lives are not experts like scientists and politicians, but actually people like you and me? It's time to share your experience with others! Now that you've mastered composting in your own yard, why not teach a neighbor, a family member, or your youth group — even your book club? Modeling behaviour is a powerful way to influence others.

Why do you think small steps and green tips work?

Lindsay Coulter, Queen of Green

April 23, 2010

Read more

Post a comment

The David Suzuki Foundation does not necessarily endorse the comments or views posted within this forum. All contributors acknowledge DSF's right to remove product/service endorsements and refuse publication of comments deemed to be offensive or that contravene our operating principles as a charitable organization. Please note that all comments are pre-moderated. Privacy Policy »