Is it a coincidence that green is both the color of money and of the environment? Maybe, maybe not. I do know that, for me at least, the two are inescapably intertwined even though I’ve come to be frugal and environmentally aware through different paths.
I grew up in a household that was at least nominally aware of environmental issues: we recycled, had low flow shower-heads, let it mellow, and were vegetarian. When I moved into my first apartment it was with a roommate who was an activist for Greenpeace, so my environmental education was kicked up a notch. We composted and gardened, ate locally and shopped ethically. A few years ago I made the resolution to only buy green cleaning products for my home. This is one of the easiest resolutions to keep I’ve ever made. When buying (or not buying appliances), their energy star rating and environmental impact is a major consideration, even if it raises the cost of the product.
I came to frugality through a different route, that of never having quite enough money. It wasn’t that I was poor, it was that I wasn’t good enough at stretching the few dollars I did have. Being frugal was less of a choice than a necessity; I could either learn to better manage my money now, or down the road after I’d goofed up even more.
I consider being green and being frugal almost to be moral imperatives. I’m not sure how many people still believe that global warming is a myth, but I think the evidence is pretty strong that it’s not and that it’s more important than ever to change our habits. I also think that consumerism, especially in America but really all over the world is rampantly out of control and that we should be working to rein it in.
This is not to say that I’m perfect. I still use way more than my fair share of the earth’s resources and I love shopping just as much as the next person. Every day, however, I try to do just a little bit better than the day before. All big change is a series of small adjustments. Try it and see- nudge yourself out of your comfort zone just a little. It’s easier than you think.