Getting Out Of Your Own Green Bubble.


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Are you living in your own green bubble of sorts, where it is easy to think that everyone else “gets it” and is doing their best to help keep the planet clean? I know I find myself there quite often because so much of my life revolves around my green blogging friends, books I read, this blog I write daily, and my general axiom that most people act sustainably because it’s the “right thing to do”. However, that’s not the case a lot of the time out there in the real world. I have good friends who haven’t made the switch to a safer laundry detergent, family members who still use bleach to clean, and neighbors who commute by themselves in government-sized vehicles. Driving to California a few weeks ago, I was reminded that most people in LA still sit in gridlock by themselves in their cars. People love their McMansions, their garages full of power boats and 4-wheelers, and eating fast food for lunch every day. Getting out of the bubble reminds me that not everyone, not even the majority, think like we do about being green and trying to live a sustainable lifestyle. So how do we continue working to clean up the planet and our behavior while also getting outside of our self-imposed (not purposefully, I am guessing) green bubble we live in?

My friends on Twitter are mostly fellow greens. My friends on Facebook are as well. Most of my friends in real life also try to consider the environment when purchasing products or making lifestyle decisions. Is it any wonder that I truly believe that most people are the same when I surround myself with like-minded spirits? Are we, by talking about all this greenness amongst ourselves, just preaching to the choir? How can we get this message out to those people who aren’t necessarily inundated with it every day anyway without being disagreeable about it? We so often live in our own created bubble that we miss seeing how everyone else lives.

I guess it’s the same as we forget how others live until we are confronted with the crushing poverty in Haiti when an earthquake destroys the country. We don’t live in that bubble of poverty – so it’s easy to focus on ourselves and our own concerns and miss what those outside our world are dealing with. Unfortunately, the health of the planet affects everyone, poor and wealthy alike, so it’s important that we all try to do our part and work for the benefit of all. And thus why it’s very important to get out of the green bubble we all stay in the majority of the time…to get out there…to listen to different opinions. Try to understand why some choices are made. Try to suggest some safer alternatives. Don’t berate. Use discretion.

You never know what you may learn, whose life you may change, or whose life may change yours.

Photo from Shutterstock

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  1. So well said! Those of us in the green bubble have got to figure out a way to understand why some may not yet be in it. Consumer engagement with sustainability is the puzzle we have to face. No preaching allowed.

  2. Oh, how I sometimes wish I could find a green bubble! Many days I feel like I’m the only one and I’m pushing that rock up a very steep hill!

  3. Thanks for this post, its so easy to fall into being smug about anything. Now I like to consider myself pretty eco friendly with my choices, I try to buy used, local, etc but I have never heard anything bad about cleaning with bleach so I guess that just proves your point, different people are at differnt levels of understanding

  4. Ahh, I fall into this trap so often. When you’re surrounded by like-minded folks, it’s easy to fall right into that bubble! I think you’re so right…sorting out what motivates people to make their choices is key to having an open, productive discussion.

  5. This is definitely a concern of mine. Most of the people that I follow on Twitter are like-minded people, and I often contemplate adding folks to my Twitter stream that I completely disagree with. This would widen my horizons and give me a peek into their philosophies. However, I have so far avoided this in an attempt to “keep positive”. I don’t want to drown myself with the hatred and negativity of those that oppose the “green” movement, but I don’t want to keep my ideas and their ideas segregated. It is a tough balance to strike, but it is definitely a good idea to venture outside of the bubble into less tolerant territories.

  6. I think about this a lot. I wonder what is the best way to purposefully venture outside the bubble. I work really hard at not being preachy, but is that going to waste if I’m just “not being preachy” at the same choir? Once inside, how do we find our way back outside the bubble?

  7. So true! I was recently at a friend’s parents 4,000+ sqf house. It has old windows, is constantly air conditioned, and uses an enormous amount of electricity. The carbon footprint of their house and lifestyle is just enormous and is such a contrast to what I strive for.

  8. I completely agree that we can develop illusions about where the rest of the world is. My green work is guided by a wish to engage the unenlisted, to understand the concerns and priorities of those who are not in the green movement. I actively seek to engage in dialogue with people who do not see protecting the natural world as their priority. I hope to enlist the unenlisted by helping them see the personal rewards of joining the growing movement of unlikely environmentalists!
    Thanks for your work!

  9. It is all too easy! I definitely live in a green bubble (at least light green) just by living in the northwest. I realized on a trip to visit my sis for her graduation that the rest of the country does not automatically recycle, does not think vegetarians are normal, and doesn’t think anything of driving everywhere. It’s a good reminder that these are the people we need to reach, however gently, because this is where the greatest change can be made…

  10. So true. Green homogeny is a challenge we face as we build like-minded communities – good for innovation, inspiration and proliferation but bad for outreach. What I feel like we’re missing is an approach that integrates awareness into our (everyone’s) daily lives. Environmental consciousness/awareness needs to be treated (and marketed) like an actual product, it needs to be sold. I think we can all do a better job of a) subtle integration and b) understanding mindset of an unreceptive audience.

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