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2010 Predictions: Simpler, Greener Lifestyles

1/6/2010 12:00:00 AM

Tags: trends, lifestyle, grow your own food, eat local, downsize, shopping

A number of factors will shape our lifestyles in the next year, but none as much as the recovering economy. Americans will still look for ways to save a penny or two, and with a few years of practice under their belts they’ll get more thrifty and resourceful. We see the following trends emerging in 2010.

1. Grow your own food. 

grow your own food
More Americans will grow their own food-producing gardens in 2010. Photo By Downing Street/Courtesy Flickr. 

Health concerns have made us more selective, but the economy has made it more difficult to afford quality food. One simple solution is to grow your own. Last year seed sales rose as more people turned to food-producing gardens, a trend we think will continue into the new year. Food-producing gardens provide healthy, organic food at a fraction of the cost and also cut back on transportation costs and the carbon footprint of traditional foods.

2. Eat local. 

Last spring, Michelle Obama began campaigning for local food. As consumers look for ways to get healthy, affordable food, we predict that farmers markets and community-sponsored agricultural programs will see strong support. Buying local food benefits the planet and local economies.

3. Cook at home. 

cooking at home
Americans will continue to cook more meals at home instead of dining out. Photo By Erich Ferdinand/Courtesy Flickr. 

Americans are eating at home more according to a new report from market research company NPD. Although most meals made at home are cooked in the microwave, Americans are choosing to eat in rather than dine out. Cooking at home allows us more control what we eat, letting us choose fresher, organic ingredients for less than what we pay at a restaurant.

4. Downsize. 

Less will be more in 2010. We’ll return to a lifestyle of simplicity (or at least head down that path) and pare down the clutter in our lives. By focusing on the basics of everyday living, we will evaluate what’s necessary in life—and what’s a luxury. Check out Gregory Paul Johnson’s story: After evaluating his lifestyle and thinking about where he wanted to be in 30 years, he moved to a 140-square-foot home.

5. Seek value. 

As we downsize, we’ll buy less and put more thought into our purchases. We’ll opt for quality products that will last longer, and we’ll put more stock into repairing and maintaining our goods rather than throwing away and buying new.

6. Borrow, don’t buy. 

In the continuing search to save a buck, Americans will use all their resources, including their neighbors. Instead of buying new tools, we’ll ask our neighbors if we can borrow theirs, and in the process we’ll reconnect with those around us. New online resources such as Craigslist and NeighborGoods will make it easier to find what we need.

7. Invest in energy-saving appliances. 

“Energy efficiency” was a key phrase in 2009 and one that consumers will put into even greater action in 2010 by choosing energy-saving appliances for their homes. More people will purchase energy-efficient appliances as an economic stimulus plan similar to Cash for Clunkers makes it easier and more economical.

8. Save water. 

Americans will become more conscious of water usage and will make an effort to save water through rainwater catchmentgraywater systems, and low-flow toilets and showerheads.

9. Harness the sun. 

Residential solar power will be big in the upcoming year. With better technology and more options for obtaining solar power, more Americans will harness the sun’s power to fuel their homes’ energy needs.

10. Buy green. 

More Americans are seeing the value in nontoxic, all-natural products. Green cleaners will become even more populat in 2010. Recycledupcycledorganiceco-friendly and fair-trade products will all be big in 2010. A note of warning, however: As green products become more popular, so will greenwashing. The GoodGuide, a website and iPhone application, examines 75,000 products, making it easier to find products that are truly green.

Do you have any additional or different predictions for 2010? Tell me your 2010 predictions in the comments section.

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