Beat the recession blues while helping the environment

There’s increasing signs of hard times ahead for many folks, with the word “recession” being bandied about more and more each day. The good news is that going green can actually save you cash, helping to create a buffer against what may lay ahead while lessenging the impact on the environment at the same time. In an odd sort of way, it’s a win-win situation.

I was reading today that the number  of bankruptcies in the US rose nearly 30 per cent in February and over *1 million* are expected to file for bankruptcy during this year; even with reform of bankruptcy law making it more difficult and costly to file.

While I live in Australia, most of my career is based around the USA – we’ve seen the writing on the wall for some time now via exchange rates. The Australian dollar is at it’s strongest point against the greenback for nearly a generation; so people like me feel the effects too. The old saying goes, “If the US catches a cold, the rest of the world sneezes”

Save thousands each year

Probably the best way for people to go green is to ask themselves a simple question before they buy anything; and that is:

“Do I really need this?”

I’m in the process of moving house at the moment and over a couple of years the amount of junk I’ve accumulated is incredible; and that’s even with trying to be more careful with what I buy. That’s stuff I’ve had to work for; stuff that someone has had to make from raw materials that have been pulled from the earth and stuff that has to be shipped. It needs to be maintained and fixed or replaced when broken.

Companies spend billions each year getting into our heads to find the right triggers to get us to buy things we actually don’t need.. or when it comes down to it; even want.

Hyperconsumption is a major contributor to environmental degradation. By getting in the habit of asking ourselves that question each time we see something that appeals and becoming discerning consumers, we can lessen the impact on the planet and save a ton of cash too.

Some other quick tips that everyone can implement that cost nothing, next to nix and will save you cash:

– Turn lights off when not in use

– Change from incandescent lighting to CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) or LED

– Use public transport more, car pool, bike it or walk when possible

Reduce red meat consumption – the livestock industry causes major environmental damage

– Recycle whatever you can, including cell phones

– Take shorter showers

– Look for natural alternatives to harsh chemicals. For example, baking soda can replace a stack of chemical cleaning products as can lemon juice and vinegar

– Don’t bin coffee grounds, throw them in the garden – it’s great fertilizer

– Turn off appliances at the wall when not in use. Just about anything with an adaptor or with a stand-by function sucks energy when not in use – this is called “phantom load” or “vampire power”. The annual collective standby power draw from households in the USA is around 8 gigawatts – equivalent to the electricity production of eight large power plants.

All these things might seem insignificant, but when millions take an action, however small, collectively it can have a appreciable postive impact. Financially speaking, even addressing phantom load can knock up to 10% off your electricity bill.

One of the great myths about “going green” is that only the rich can afford to do so. There’s literally hundreds of things the average person can do that won’t cause appreciable inconvenience or burn a hole in the wallet – and that’s what I try to focus on via

Take a few minutes and have a look around the site – and don’t forget to bookmark it; there’s sure to be some money and planet saving tips here for you!