Experts tell us that until we choose to live green because it's the right thing to do, we'll never have a positive impact. Unfortunately, an Eco-friendly life can be expensive and when folks are working hard to pay bills, the "right thing" doesn't always top our list of priorities.
Those of us who promote an Eco-friendly lifestyle try to encourage others, often pointing out that green living is also frugal. But that presents a problem because it bases our lifestyle on a precarious foundation; namely, our income.
Our last survey asked the question, If you had all the money in the world, would you live green? I expected that while most would say "yes", they'd also say that they might not live as green. After all, unlimited money would mean the ability to travel more, buy bigger and better and more stuff ... and all of that is tempting.
But wow ... my expectations were wrong!
100% of respondents said that yes, they would live green! Their comments revealed a lot:
Living green saves money and yes I definitely would. It's also healthier and easier to live green.
If I were rich I could buy solar panels, wind turbines and custom green roof applications. I could buy only organic and locally grown foods. I could buy into environmentally responsible cleaning and supply businesses; I would invest in community veggie gardens and advance auto industry technology towards solar and wind models...
As we make money we choose to use it to buy more services rather than products, and look for service providers who are also green in their way. Also we hope to buy more green technologies that are currently expensive but decrease in price as they get out in the market more.
Yes and no. There are things I would find easier to do if I had all the money in the world - eat more ethically for one, with all organic/biodynamic produce. And, I could buy a state of the art electric car, and put in a solar powered car charger. But, i am also aware that however much we might like to think it's not true, we are generally driven by immediate self-interest, and I am no different. So do I want to save carbon and is that part of my motivation for driving to work? Sure. But the fact that it saves me money helps too.
Especially if you had all the money in the world, it is important to live green: it would be so easy for you to spend on whatever you wanted. But on average, for every $1,000 you spend you're causing half a tonne of CO2 emissions. In the long term, frugal really is green. (See the carbon intensity of various countries here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_ratio_of_GDP_to_carbon_dioxide_emissions)
I'd have more money to help fund green projects and especially supporting the work of the NRDC who I believe is the singlehandedly most powerful environmental advocate we have in America.
I have the life I desired I wouldn't live any other way. I was recently asked if I would buy/build a small home or stay where I am in my apartment. I couldn't say for sure, this just feels like where I belong.
Throwing or wasting things have always bothered me. No matter my bank acct.
Are these respondents typical of the population? Probably not. But it is exciting to see this Eco-attitude ... this idea that more money could mean more "greeness". Those who walk gently on the earth lead by example. So I am hopeful that their lifestyle will encourage others to do the same.
Perhaps ... before long ... wealth will be considered an environmental asset rather than the tool of waste.
It's something to think about!
Image courtesy of scottchan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net