Unless you’ve been living under a rock since the 1970s, you’ve heard about global warming or “climate change” as it’s more recently being referred to. The green movement has been en vogue for the past few years, but did you know that the first mention of fossil fuel combustion having a negative impact on greenhouse gasses was all the way back in 1859?
Human beings have had quite a while to wrap their heads around the phenomenon of climate change and take action to prevent further damage, but we just can’t seem to make significant progress. Here, we give you five solid reasons to shake up your norm and start getting green.
Change isn’t that hard.
Let me give you an example that we can all relate to: coffee. Just recently, my Keurig coffee machine died. I had switched to a classic French press months prior (I like my coffee on the stronger side) but my husband was having a difficult time giving up the convenience of “coffee-on-demand.” I shared an article from the Atlantic about how damaging single serve coffee pods are for the environment with him and he made the jump back to a classic drip machine—which, if you use the permanent filters that come with most machines nowadays, is a happy medium between convenience and being environmentally friendly. He still has his morning coffee and thanks to the programmable feature it’s still somewhat on demand. A change was made and low and behold, the world is still spinning on its axis.
My point is, oftentimes the thought of change is actually harder than the change itself. The word “change” is so intimidating to so many people, that I wonder how many of those people have ever tried changing first and thinking about it later. Much like the first foray into a swimming pool, if you just jump in, chances are you’ll warm up to change before you know it.
Green is the new black.
If you are the type that follows the trends, I have great news for you: being green is 100% bonafide cool. It’s just counter-culture enough to be considered intellectual, artsy and socially-conscious while being enough inside of the fringe to still be widely accepted. Finally, you can toe the line between haute and hippie.
All tongue-in-cheek commentary aside, since it has become so fashionable to be eco-aware, it means there are a lot of fantastic options for incorporating a more green approach to your lifestyle. Every industry from beauty to fashion and technology has been developing more environmentally conscious products and new ways to reduce our carbon footprint, to meet the ever-increasing demands of this market.
Much like our coffee example earlier, thanks to a growing demand, you no longer have to sacrifice quality, convenience or style to be more green compliant.
It saves you money.
Generally speaking, when it comes to goods, someone has to pay. It’s either going to be you (the purchaser) or the environment (the provider). The lower the cost is to you, the higher it is for the environment—at least, that’s how it seems at first glance. Let’s skip back to our coffee example for a moment (we’re going to do a little math here, just bear with me for a minute). You can buy a box of single-serve coffee pods for around $10, and it usually gets you about 12 pods or cups of coffee. Here’s where things get expensive: each pod contains 11 grams of coffee. It takes 453.592 grams to equal one pound, or about 41 pods (3.5 boxes). This means that the coffee used to fuel that single-serve machine is running you about $40/lb.
The highest-quality “premium” coffee roasters charge $27.98, per pound just to give you a frame of reference.
While the initial jump from low-cost, high convenience, environmentally devastating goods is going to cost you a little money in investing in new, high-quality equipment, it will save you in the long run.
It’s one thing to consider the costs of everyday goods, but when you figure in services as well, that’s when the savings really start adding up. Take a moment to think about what you pay for electricity, heating, cooling (depending on where you live) water and trash. We all use these utilities every day and they can be easy to take for granted, that is until you get the bill.
Plunking down some cash for high-efficiency light bulbs and low-flow faucets and toilets may seem like a lot at your local hardware store, but it will pay you back in your energy costs, later on. Some equipment can save you 50% or more on your energy bills. That’s a solid long-term investment.
It helps everyone.
At the end of the day, we are all connected. The amount of garbage dumped into the oceans in Japan affects the seal population in British Columbia, which causes overpopulation of predatory fish in California, which leads to an increase in acidic waste and contributes to coral reef die-off in Australia. We all inhabit this big blue marble together and we are all responsible for its care. Much like a group of college roommates, it’s everyone’s job to pitch in, clean up and mind our own messes.
The sooner we realize that our seemingly minuscule daily actions impact the world around us in a real and meaningful way, the sooner we may all be a little bit more encouraged to turn off the lights when leaving a room, shutting off the faucet while we brush our teeth and ride our bikes to work. If one person does it, it doesn’t help that much, but if one million people pick up these habits, suddenly we are talking about immediate global impact. Be one in a million.
It’s the right thing to do.
If anyone out there can name one good reason to not be environmentally responsible, I would really love to invite you to do so in the comments below. The more and more we ignore the issues that contribute to climate change—namely our own actions—the worse and worse the problem becomes.
By incorporating a more green approach we are taking actions that will impact future generations, much more so than our own. By minimizing our negative impact on the environment, we are setting a pattern of behavior that will hopefully continue long past our time on this planet and become so ingrained in our culture that future inhabitants will never have to face the growing concerns that we do today. In short, by being responsible today we are doing right by the children of tomorrow.