Why Be Green?
Why should I Unplug and Go Green?
Around every figurative corner, whether it is a television or radio ad, billboard, or overzealous advocate, you will hear something about going green. A lot of the noise is useless blurbs urging you to go green, without supplying information or facts on why or how to do so. Most people understand the basics, such as reducing waste, recycling, or solar energy, but are not properly educated on the personal benefits going green can have on your community, health, and wallet. This site will help give you motivation and ideas for living and working as green as possible. Even you cannot single-handedly stop all pollution, by making yourself or your business green, you can have much more impact than you might expect.
Going Green to Get You Green
While some might consider it cold and callous, the simple fact is that many people believe going green will cost them money, and with the recent downturn of the economy most are unable to afford any more expenses. Earning money by being green is also not limited to recycling soda cans for pennies on the pound. Even megacorporations like Wal-Mart are seeing the benefit of the various ways to go green by methods such as improving the fuel economy on their trucks, reducing the amount of plastic used in bagging, or cutting down on packaging.
One of the leading ways of earning through going green is by investing in renewable energy. A reasonably large 10 kilowatt solar energy system is capable of supplying more than the energy needs of the average American household. After all the incentives and rebates offered by federal and state governments, these residential systems can pay off their costs within a decade. Any excess energy you produce can also be sold back to most power companies, depending on your local and state regulations.
Once you break even on this investment, you can earn figures of several thousand dollars a year between savings on electricity and selling energy. All of this can be done without lifting a finger to actively help the environment, and results in tens of thousands of pounds of CO2 not being added to the atmosphere every year.
Am I the Only One Who Benefits Financially from Me Going Green?
One criticism of living conservatively is that consuming less and converting to eco-friendly alternatives means jobs will disappear. This is both true and false. As with any change in lifestyle, some markets will inevitably die out. One notable example is the descent of newspapers in the age of the Internet. Conversely, progressing into the Digital Age created many new jobs and industries that employ millions of people today. The same situation is the most likely outcome of a global switch to living green.
If you buy locally grown green produce, you are stimulating your local economy, while at the same time reducing pollution through shipping, packaging, and chemical run-off. If recycling of goods like plastics and aluminum cans is commonplace, there may be a reduction in manufacturing of new material for these goods, but jobs are created in collecting and recycling, while still maintaining a need for production of the goods. One overarching consequence of green living is that local communities profit, and since no profit exists in a vacuum, globally focused businesses can suffer if they do not come along for the ride.
The Effects of Green Living on the Environment
The easiest way to demonstrate the benefit of green living on the environment is to take a look at what our current lifestyle is doing. This goes beyond just global warming, which is a highly debated topic. There are measurable, dramatic impacts on the ecosystem that can be seen across the world.
As of now, only 1% of the fresh water supply on the planet is drinkable without treatment. The source of contamination varies, with some being naturally poisonous due to bacteria and protozoa, chemical runoff from industry, pesticides, and sewage. In many countries that cannot afford treatment facilities, drinking water is equivalent to committing suicide.
Elsewhere in the aquatic world, our trash has formed massive areas of concentrated plastics and other miniscule debris that has collected in the oceans. The largest of these, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, is so large that the most conservative estimates place it at a size larger than the state of Hawaii. The most extreme estimates say it is twice the size of the United States. This collection of garbage has rapidly expanded since the early 1990s, and it is worrisome to begin calculating how the patch could expand if nothing is done about our trash production as the world population increases.
If you are not familiar with the smog over the city of Los Angeles, a quick online search will show you a city whose skyline is obscured by a thick cloud of polluted air. Los Angeles used to be the only place you could see smog constantly, but more and more cities, like Beijing and Shanghai, are turning their air into carcinogenic filth. More localized examples of rampant air pollution exist, like neighborhoods that house coal plants. The pollutants pumped into the air by one of these plants can be worse for a child being raised in the area than sitting them inside a bar that still allows smoking.
The benefits are many: cleaner air; less trash; healthier food; better quality of life; and a better future for your progeny. It does not take much to have an impact on the environment, so please take a look at the ideas on this site that can make it easier for you to unplug and go green.