Going green, or leading a lifestyle that is more environmentally friendly and making ecologically responsible decisions in order to protect the environment and sustain its natural resources for current and future generations, is a choice that many people are making worldwide as sustainability awareness increases. One of the major perceptions is that it costs a lot. Going green, worth the investment?
Let’s start off with the “free” stuff. One of the easiest ways to start going green is to recycle and reduce waste. This won’t cost you a cent and you can start small, by separating your trash at home or even at the workplace. You can walk more and drive less. Not only will the environment appreciate the reduction in greenhouse gases but your health won’t object. Another cost-less contribution to the environment is food. For example, you can choose to eat less meat, which is proven to be a disastrous industry for global warming (about 150 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than chicken or fish). Alas, this is where it gets tricky.
Eating “green” means consuming food that is made with sustainable methods and avoiding produce that depend largely on industrial, synthetic substances like fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics and hormones. This means consuming food that is organic. On average, organic food is more expensive. Some might go as far as saying that eating organic foods means less money spent on doctor visits and medicine - and therefore worth the extra few bucks, but we think that’s going a bit far. These costs are projected to decrease but for now, organic eaters are paying more.
How about energy? Our society is still highly dependent on fossil fuels, which are quickly disappearing and polluting the atmosphere as they go. In the past few decades, there has been considerable research and investment in renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. These clean energy sources could potentially be the solution for energy pollution but for now, fossil fuels are more cost effective because the available technologies for these sources are more sophisticated. So while solar panels might take a few more paychecks, the future is bright as renewable energy costs are reducing annually and indirect costs, such as pollution and green taxes, are increasing for fossil fuels.
Going green isn’t cheap but in reality it isn’t that expensive. Research and lifestyle adjustments can help you achieve the goals you want for a greener, healthier, and slightly more expensive lifestyle. One thing remains certain - the long term benefits to gain will outweigh the costs.