“Can we take care of the world together? »
This is a question that Laurie Gagnon-Bouchard, 31, sent to her lover by text message at the start of their relationship. She felt it was important to emphasize that she wanted to form a team to live an eco-friendly lifestyle – and help the planet. “A couple is the start of a collective project,” says the doctoral student in political thought at the University of Ottawa and lecturer in ecofeminism at UQAM. We don’t have to carry all the weight alone. Together, we can change our habits…and change the world! »
Change the world. The intention is noble, and Ms. Gagnon-Bouchard is not the only one hoping to make positive changes to counter the climate crisis, among others with her couple.
Katherine Péloquin, professor in the psychology department at the University of Montreal and psychologist, sees this in her practice: she receives couples in therapy and is interested in the values that unite them… or divide them. “The values discussed in therapy are often finances, family, children’s education, sexuality, religious beliefs and fairness,” she says. We see that the environmental cause is a subject that comes up… and it is likely to come up even more often. »
According to Ms. Péloquin, younger generations are very mobilized by the environmental cause and climate change. This is reflected in their daily actions and influences their decisions, and not just those related to consumption.
This is a bit like what Hugues Roy, a 30-year-old from Laval, experienced. Without considering himself an “environmental activist”, he describes himself as “very serious in his approach”. Single, he is looking for a soul mate… with a heart as green as his. “I haven’t had a car for six years,” he confides. I can’t go out with a girl who travels by car. That doesn’t make sense to me. On the issue of the environment, she must share my views… How else could she understand my eco-anxiety? »
This aspect is crucial, believes Katherine Péloquin. “If one of the two members of the couple is not attentive to the ecoanxiety of the other, or if they minimize it, it will not work,” she says. Ecoanxiety is representative of the times we live in, and we are talking about it more and more. »
Some partners decide to move forward together in adopting new, more ecological lifestyle habits. This is the case of Rebecca*, a 41-year-old nurse, who has been in a relationship for nine months. This Montrealer met her boyfriend through a dating app. His first criterion may not have been “environmental cause,” but it wasn’t far down his list.
“It’s very important,” explains the mother of two children aged 6 and 11. I have an acute environmental awareness: I compost, I recycle, I don’t use plastic, I buy in thrift stores and bazaars, I travel by public transport and by bike, I reuse a lot, my food is homemade…”
This lifestyle is not completely shared by her partner, who does not live with her.
Same story for Laurie Gagnon-Bouchard, who learns from her lover – and vice versa. “We help each other with zero waste grocery shopping, with waste management, with organizing our space,” she says. We want to make bins of vegetables and herbs next year. Doing all this as a team is easier. »
Hugues Roy dreams of a team, of a “bubble” to overcome the challenges of life… and the ecological crisis. “We’re going to get there together and maybe it starts together? I agree that we cannot put all the responsibility on the citizens… but we cannot think that we should not push the wheel either. »