The Secret to Creating Change in our Own World
By Greg Peterson
I was reading an article by Colin the No Impact Man recently, and in his post he opened the door to begin exploring just how to go about changing peoples minds about living with a lighter footprint. He writes “without judgment” as the opening text to his post. THIS is a very important piece of the collective work that we need to do in order to create significant change in our world.
In my travels and teaching I have found that whenever we cast judgment and our opinions at people they stop listening. Getting people to listen in our line of work (making the planet a safer and healthier place for future generations) is probably the most important tool that we have for creating future change.
Daniel Quinn, the writer of the incredibly successful series of books that began with Ishmael, speaks about the best way to create change in the world. He infers that putting programs in place doesn’t work because when you require people to do something they stop listening. He then goes on to propose that change happens when you change people’s minds. So what can we all do to change people’s minds?
Like Colin, I strive to live a life that encourages people to think about the choices that they make. I drive a Honda Insight Hybrid, live in a self-proclaimed environmental showcase home called The Urban Farm in the heart of Phoenix, AZ, generate a lot of my own electricity, grow a lot of my own food with my edible landscape, use greywater to irrigate the landscape and show it all off as often as I can get away with. At The Urban Farm, I’ve given countless tours and hosted classes on composting, keeping urban chickens, and gardening. I love seeing people’s excitement when I expose them to what I do and show them what they are capable of.
People are eager for information on how to live a greener lifestyle. By feeding it to them in a non-judgmental way, we are opening the door for them to listen. Those people then go out and share it with others and change their minds. Not judging can be very hard, this I know, but it is in my opinion the number one way to get through to others and get our work done.