Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Strategic Consumption: How to Change the World with What You Buy

Worldchanging strategy #2:

2) Lengthening our time horizons: A great number of costlier green products are smart investments when viewed from the perspective of long-term cost. This is true of everything from more efficient home appliances (which can pay for themselves through energy savings) to low-flow shower heads. These are big-ticket items, requiring substantial industrial investment to manufacture. Buying them represents a wise investment and speeds up the process of higher standards being more widely adopted, but it also requires spending more up front -- sometimes a lot more. (It'd be easier if we all adopted the Japanese approach of requiring today's best performance levels to be the minimum allowable a few years hence.) This kind of sustainable consumption makes good sense.

Further thoughts:

I've noticed that oftentimes those things that are convenient often create environmental hazards: the throwaway rubbermaid containers get into the landfill, leafblowers create noise pollution and air pollution. Right now it's also mostly the case that more environmentally-friendly products usually cost more.