Glad I Can't Afford Green?

| 7/24/2008 2:58:04 PM

Of all the feedback we receive here at Natural Home, among the most frequent are reader complaints about the cost of going green. "I can't afford to be green!" "It costs thousands of dollars for solar panels, radiant heat and other alternative energy." "Shopping organic is just out of my price range!" Trust me. I'm a journalist (read, not raking in the dough). I'm with you, readers! To combat this, we try our hardest to show people who built or remodeled smaller, more affordable green homes; those who used creativity to find almost everything to build/remodel and decorate their homes from secondhand and salvaged resources; discuss ways to budget to build green; feature real readers who have to make choices about what green renovations they can make; and to talk about food gardening, CSAs, local farmer's markets and other ways to eat healthy foods on a budget.

But despite all of these choices, one idea keeps popping into my mind: Maybe it's a good thing that green is considered a luxury right now. Think about it: What makes something appealing to the masses? The idea that only the elite can have it? The fact that just about every major celebrity out there espouses their green good deeds and love for the environment?? Pretty much every technology that's considered standard today—from electricity to refrigerators to automobiles to plane travel—started off as the special domain of the elite. I think this eco-elitism is a fabulous thing for our society. Maybe the fact that green costs more is actually a WONDERFUL thing! Market prices come down; attitudes are a lot harder to change. For the first time, "going green" has left the realm of the weird, the fringe, the dirty, old, small and undesireable to...the realm of the stars! The rich and famous! The elite! And isn't that going to make everyone want it that much more? It seems to me that everything that becomes a norm starts out with the upper class, then as demand goes up, production follows and prices fall. And if this is a stage in green's conversion to mainstream, I'm all for it. (I just hope it gets to the affordable part soon!)

In the meantime, frugal greenies, being smart, informed and creative will help you do more good for the environment than Julia Roberts using biodegradable diapers. But, hey, let the celebs bring everybody onboard. You can say you knew Green before he was somebody.

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