There’s a perception that green is more expensive and less convenient, and, truth to say, that’s sometimes true. It is more expensive to buy your groceries at Whole Foods. And putting solar panels on your roof doesn’t really save you money for many years, if at all, (although it’s still less than buying a new car).
But on the other hand, we know that there are lots of green things you can do that actually save money – replacing your incandescent lights with compact fluorescents is one familiar example. And if you’re building a house, putting in lots more insulation than is required by code can save a huge amount of both money and energy, while making your home more comfortable.
Sometimes it’s small changes that can flip this perception. I have a recent example from my own life that brought this home to me (so to speak):
A few years ago we signed up with a community–supported agriculture (CSA) program to get a box of organic veggies every other week. Essentially, we were contracting with a farmer out in the country to grow stuff for us to eat, and bring a box of it into the city every other week. CSA programs have clear benefits – in particular, they’re a cost-effective way to be sure you’re eating good quality, fresh, healthy, local food, and CSAs directly support small, family-run sustainable farms.
But, we stopped our box after a few months. The big problem? The farmer dropped off all the boxes for our part of town on a particular day at a house where we had to go to pick up ours at a particular time. This turned out to be just difficult enough that it became an obstacle to us being able to stay in the program. Effectively, it was a type of “privation” – we had to do a little bit more to be green and healthy than was convenient for our life.
The good news is that we just joined another CSA. Almost exactly like the first one, with one key exception: They deliver to our house. We don’t even have to be here. Every two weeks we get a big box with a giant variety of vegetables.
Even though I know that I should be able to pick up a box of vegetables at some random person’s house every two weeks, and that by doing so I’ll be saving the planet and being organic and supporting family farms, I just couldn’t do it. But with one small change, I’m back in the game.
What small changes have you experienced that made it easier to “do the right thing?” What could green suppliers, green builders, car companies, the government do to make “green” easier? Let me know your thoughts on this – I’d love to hear what you think.