Protecting the environment and our finite natural resources should be everyone’s concern. Our population is pushing 7.4 billion and our ability to conserve our natural resources as well as create alternative fuel sources is better than it has ever been.
Whatever your position is on climate change, there are some basic truths ocurring at the moment, and the financial world is taking note and planning for the future. Let’s keep this reality in mind as we think about good ol’ planet Earth and our precious wallets:
Utility costs may increase
Globally speaking, 2016 was the hottest year yet – if that trend continues, it means people will be using more air conditioning. The U.S already uses the most air conditioning worldwide, according to Forbes, “Our residential air conditioning needs alone devour 6-8% of the country’s electricity, or about 290 terawatt hours per year, more electricity than is used in all sectors in Mexico, with 125 million people.” And that’s just residential air conditioning! Increasing temperatures means increasing air conditioning usage which requires more energy. This could mean higher electrical bills for all of us. Paying attention to your energy bill–and learning how to reduce your personal use of energy, or even exploring the use of solar power, will save you money in the long run.
Food might cost more
The U.S. currently imports many of our grocery store options from other countries. Because of the increased energy costs associated with food transportation, food costs continue to rise. Water scarcity (droughts, irrigation costs) also contribute to increased food prices. Urban gardens and farming (in Seattle that means backyard chickens!) are on the rise globally and creating amazing communities of interesting people consciously contributing to local food production.
Climate change is associated with global health changes. The rise in temperatures can cause diseases and treating these diseases costs money. Preventive medical care and treatment of widespread disease is expensive for all of us as global citizens. By functioning in this world you will be exposed to disease, can’t help that, however taking care of your own health–mental and physical– is a good way to decrease your vulnerability to disease acquisition.
Climate changes in the environment will most likely shift our needs for certain companies and industries. This could go two different ways. Some industries may not be as necessary anymore – impacting some people’s work status. On the flip side, some industries may grow or new technologies may be created. Alternative energy sources, water resources and treatment, and different ways to build fuel-efficient products (like houses, appliances, computers, phones, etc) are on the rise.
Home costs may increase
Home insurance is already on the rise due to the increased occurrence of natural disasters. According to AccuWeather, there were three times as many natural disasters between 2000 and 2009 in comparison to 1980 and 1989. In addition to increases in home insurance premiums, we also have to factor in the repair costs of houses damaged by these natural disasters. Homeowners who want to be proactive and prevent (storm) damage will spend money on home improvements–think wind or storm resistant exterior building materials to prevent glass breakage on windows.
Action items – the environment approved
It’s important and inpowering for us to know that the financial world is predicting that environmental changes will affect our pocketbooks. Being informed allows us to nav. our world in ways that protect the environment and our wallets.
Here are some in-powering things we can do daily:
- Conserve energy at home and at work – turn off the lights and air conditioning or heating in rooms that aren’t being used
- Reduce our carbon footprint; carpool, bike, or walk, whenever possible
- Stop buying disposable water bottles – invest in a good reusable one instead
- Reach for a reusable cloth instead of a paper towel to help reduce our landfills
- Move to online communication whenever possible and avoid unnecessary printing to reduce paper wastes
- Recycle at home and at the office – and vote for your city to implement recycling and composting options
- Buy locally – shop at your local farmer’s market and community stores
- Try urban gardening/farming–at minimum see if you can keep a basil plant alive
- Unplug your appliances when they are not in use
- Buy energy saving light bulbs, use recyclable batteries and recycle your used batteries
- When brown bagging it to work, use a reusable lunch bag and washable containers instead of plastic bags
- Use canvas grocery bags
Image credit: Mirjana Jesic