How do I encourage people to live more eco-friendly (e.g. drive less, avoid disposable products, raise awareness of the hazards of industrialized farming) without offending them?
—Patty, in Carbondale, Illinois
After being Mr. Green for nine years, I’ve enjoyed a bit of success in fostering eco-friendliness, though I can’t claim to have mended relationships and saved marriages like those famous Anns and Abbies. Nor do I take credit for last year’s 3.8 percent decrease in carbon emissions. (In any case, that dip was probably more the result of good weather and bad economy, because it’s already climbed back up 2.6 percent this year.)
So, in light of this considerable experience in eco-friending, here are my 10 Commandments for Environmental Evangelists:
1. Walk the talk: If you actually take green actions yourself, it’s a lot easier to get others to listen up. Being Mr. Green, I gotta be tuned in to this. Example: One day I’m in the back yard, hanging out the laundry. So strange has this custom become, that my neighbor asks me what I’m doing. “Well, now, if I don’t make a convincing display of solar drying, somebody could bust me and tell the world I’m a closet energy-waster. And anyhow,” I add, “with all the fuss about vitamin D deficiency these days, a few minutes outside hanging up the clothes might be healthy."