by Stephen Meno
A lot of the time, “going green” gets a bad rep. It’s been called costly, impractical, even a job destroyer. But the truth of the matter is there’s very little truth in those labels. Let’s lay out the facts and show you what anti-environmentalism is costing us and how even small changes we make can have substantial payoffs.
Let’s start with the home. Many families cannot afford to buy organic vegetables and free-range meat because they’re more expensive. But look at how much is spent on paper napkins and towels each week. If you replace those items with cloth napkins and rags to clean up (and just toss them in the laundry when you’re done with them), you end up reducing waste ending up in a landfill and saving hundreds of dollars each year. That money can be put toward organic food.
And, you don’t have to buy everything organic. Prioritize certain items. Food that easily absorbs pesticides like berries should definitely be bought organic, whereas vegetables like onions and sweet corn are not as necessary.
It is true that switching over to clean energy production will be expensive. But look at the cost of not doing that. Every day we get our electricity from coal and fuel our cars with oil, we add astronomical levels of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, fueling climate change. And, with climate change comes unpredictable and increasingly destructive weather. Natural disasters, such as the forest fires out West, droughts, and shoreline damage are costing the government and citizens billions.
For example, the total cost of damage from Hurricane Katrina was $81.2 billion. Instead of the government spending massive amounts cleaning up these messes, they could invest a fraction of that money into creating sustainable futures. Think of it this way: you brush and floss your teeth every day so you won’t have to spend thousands on dentures later in life. We end up paying one way or another, so why don’t we spend our money on preventing problems, rather than fixing them.
Probably one of the biggest misconceptions is that environmental efforts cut jobs. But according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, less than 0.3 percent of job losses are a result of environmental regulation. In fact, green industries could be the savior of the American economy. If the U.S. were to invest in clean energy programs, thousands would be needed to construct, engineer, and maintain structures such as wind turbines and solar panels.
But where is the government going to get the money to jumpstart these industries? Instead of raising taxes, the answer is redistributing funds. The U.S. budget for military spending is over $500 billion a year! Even if just 1% of that money was reallocated to clean energy or water regulation programs, we could help save the planet and even the American economy.
Environmentalism is really about moving away from a disposable mindset to a renewable one. It’s about prioritizing the health of the planet instead of costly wars. It’s about considering the long-term effects and valuing quality over quantity. It’s about understanding that ensuring a sustainable future is priceless.