Going green – it’s not just about the environment

“You need to eat your veggies to help you stay healthy”. Sound familiar? 
Often this reasoning doesn’t work as the child (or even adult for that matter) simply won’t believe you.  A reward needs to be offered, or a clear and present danger outlined (such as no dessert).
How about this:

“We need to cut our greenhouse gas emissions for the sake of future generations.”

Some have heeded the call, but many haven’t. Heck, we haven’t even gotten as far as having the majority of the population in some countries accepting that greenhouse gas emissions cause climate change. That’s a little frightening.

Why the resistance? Perceived sacrifice.

Just as the child won’t eat his or her vegetables because of the taste and lack of understanding about the role of vegetables in health; people are resistant to taking action on climate change and other environmental issues due to the effort, or perceived effort, involved and the threats posed by inaction seen as being uncertain or somebody else’s problem.

If you’re having a tough time encouraging your family, friends and colleagues to go green; try approaching it from another angle rather than just from the treehugger standpoint, or even health. Maybe you’re also trying to find added reasons to make green changes in your own life.

Perhaps these reasons will help:

Saving money

While some aspects of going green can be costly, I think they are far outweighed by the savings that can be made. For example, implementing a few electricity saving tips can save quite a bit each year, as can avoiding goods in convenience packaging, as can taking measures to save gas.

Saving time/more quality time

It wasn’t all that long ago that in families in developed countries, usually only one of the parents went out to work. That all changed with our so-called labor saving gadgets and gizmos; many of which we don’t need, but cost us a packet to buy. Look around your home, in hindsight how much do you have that you don’t actually need or really, really want? How much has it all cost; not just in money, but in time?

Self empowerment

People, generally speaking, see themselves as individuals and not easily fooled. The sad truth is we are manipulated every day on a subconscious level that then translates to conscious actions. Think of marketers as (sometimes) evil psychologists exploiting our fears, hopes and dreams to get us to whip out the plastic.

Think about all the ads you see about X or Y product. Think about the goods you’ve bought due to clever advertising that didn’t live up to expectations and are now gathering dust. Understanding how companies encourage hyperconsumption through ploys such as planned obsolescence or perceived obsolescence is an important step to taking back control of your purchasing dollars and to a great degree, your life.

Local jobs

So much of our food and other consumer items are made outside our own shores. This contributes to issues such as food miles, but also impacts on local employment. With some countries still trying to recover from the global financial crisis, jobs are a hot topic and “buy local” is very much aligned with green principles.

Independence and disaster preparedness

Imagine for a moment that as of tomorrow, all your electricity, water and garbage collection services are cut. Additionally, fuel supplies have been interrupted. How would you cope? You would probably be a lot better equipped to deal with the situation  if you had a rainwater tank, solar powered lights, a compost pile and had already made inroads into cutting other forms of waste. A bicycle may also be a life saver in these circumstances. 
Reduce resource waste

Waste costs us all – not just in terms of the environment, but in general humanitarian, financial and health aspects. Waste is factored into the cost of items we buy. Waste costs us more again when we don’t use all a product or it breaks. Waste takes valuable resources and turns them into garbage. Waste poisons our bodies.
Consumers who reduce or refocus their spending, who aren’t easily manipulated and have a high level of independence are the bane of many companies and governments for that matter. Bear in mind that even in a democracy; government of the people, by the people, for the people is a bit of a myth. Business influences people and directly and indirectly runs government. 

Business doesn’t just address our needs, but taps into our wants or creates them. It’s these wants rather than needs that play such a big role in the environmental, economic and various other messes we’ve found ourselves in. The machine of “traditional” business has an infinite appetite, yet it’s a finite world.
Rage against the machine – it’s about so much more than just the environment and “going green”.