With my public health focus in behavioral science and health education, I am well aware that people make decisions and choices based on individual priorities, and no two people are motivated by exactly the same thing. Economic incentives (i.e., saving money) motivate many people. Who doesn’t like saving money?
For me, there are many reasons to be “green.” An idea of stewardship and social justice rank high in my green motivation list. The planet is not ours to exploit. It would take 5 planets with Earth’s resources to allow everyone alive today to live like we do in the United States. (To learn more about this, visit http://www.ecofoot.org/.) We’re taking way more than our share, and that’s both disgusting and scary in its implications.
As mentioned in my “About Me” section, many eco-friendly behaviors are also preventive health behaviors. However, health, in and of itself, is not a strong motivator for many people.
So eco-friendly behaviors are 1) good for the planet, and 2) good for health. Having a planet that can sustain human life is not enough? Reducing rates of obesity and chronic disease just doesn’t do it for you? Do you need more motivation? If so, there is good news: going green can save you green!
I haven’t talked a lot about this yet, since it is only one part of my personal reason for eco-friendly living, but good for the planet can be good for your wallet. Part of the challenge is overcoming the now mentality. Insulating your home will certainly save you money over the years, but there is an upfront cost to the future savings. Same with buying energy efficient appliances.
While you can eat a healthy diet very affordably, you can also eat an unhealthy diet very affordably. (Thanks, Farm Bill!) If you do not think about the future cost in health, there are plenty of cheap, low nutritional value calories out there. But nothing comes free, you just pay in different ways. You may actually have to pay a bit more to eat real food instead of “food products” produced from “food ingredients.” One of the vendors at the farmer’s market has a great sign: “You can pay your farmer or you can pay your doctor.”
Living simply on as little money as possible is important to me. Fortunately, the green in my wallet is very compatible with a green lifestyle, so stay tuned. Click here if you want to see what someone else is already writing about this.