[sniplet diggright][sniplet tweetright]I get a lot of questions these days about going green. Some of them have merit, others are pretty silly. One of the most common, though, is a simple question that’s actually really tough to answer:
Why should I care about the environment?
I know some of you are thinking “Now wait a minute, that question is easy to answer, there are a bunch of reasons to care…” — and you’re right, there are a bunch of easy answers to that question. I mean, why wouldn’t you want to save the environment?
The problem is that this question doesn’t come from people who already love organic foods, recycling, and driving hybrid cars. This question is coming from those of you who don’t have the extra money to spend buying organic products, or don’t see a big benefit from recycling, or don’t want to give up driving a sports car in favor of a Prius.
Believe it or not, there are still really good reasons to care about the environment — even if you don’t consider yourself an environmentalist. Here are 12 simple reasons everyone should care about the environment, no matter who you are:
1. Show the world your good side
The impact we have on the environment today is making a big difference on the world of future generations. Heck, it’s making an impact right now in a lot of places. It’s our responsibility to care for our planet and ensure our future well-being.
Even if you don’t agree with a lot of this — enough people do that you should pay attention. Your attitude towards the environment says something about your personality to other people. Not caring about our environmental impact makes you look like an irresponsible kid who doesn’t clean up after himself. You don’t want that, do you?
2. Think of your wallet
A lot of people think that going green is time consuming and expensive — and in some cases they are right — but not most of the time.
Most green technologies are actually designed to reduce energy consumption and reuse existing resources. Energy is expensive, and using less of it can save you a lot of money. Bottom-line: going green can be financially rewarding if you do it right.
3. Smog is gross
Nobody wants to live in a world filled with smog. It’s hard to breathe, it smells bad, and it causes untold numbers of health problems. It’s just plain gross.
Don’t think it’s such a big deal? Take a look at the Beijing Olympics — they had to shut down their factories and force 50% of drivers to stay home every day for weeks so they wouldn’t kill the athletes with the poor air quality. After all of those measures, there were still thousands of complaints.
4. Landfills are disgusting
Have you ever been on a highway or town that is near a big landfill? Have you smelled that smell? I don’t know about you, but I would do a lot to avoid ever having to experience that again.
Most things that are thrown into the trash are headed directly to a landfill. Given the amount of trash that most people generate, it’s a miracle that we aren’t swimming in it already. If you don’t like this landfill-everywhere vision of the future, being environmentally conscious is the only way to go.
5. Think of the beautiful beaches
Everyone loves a good beach. The warm white sand, clear blue waters, and pristine palm trees swaying in the light breeze.
Unfortunately, those gorgeous beaches are slowly becoming less of a reality and more of a past memory. Trash is infiltrating even the most remote corners of the world, and if we don’t stop it many of our current beautiful vacation getaways will disappear.
6. Polar Bears are cute
It’s not just our beaches and resorts that are deteriorating, it’s also the beaches and habitats of many of the world’s animals. Do you really want your children, grandchildren, and nieces and nephews growing up in a world so different from ours?
“Mommy, what’s a polar bear?”
7. Unnatural stuff causes cancer
Not only are natural products better for the environment, but they are also better for your health. If you’ve listened to the news lately, I’m sure you’ve heard of that new study showing how _________ has been found to cause cancer. Yes, that’s a blank, and these days it seems like you can fill it in with just about any synthetic product or food.
Moral of the story: eating natural foods and using natural products is better for your health and the health of our environment.
8. Necessity is the mother of invention
If you’re the type of person who appreciates (or, is obsessed with) new technology, then supporting the green industry is an easy choice. The amount of money, resources, and intelligence being poured into challenging ecological problems is driving forward a wave of technological advances that we haven’t seen in quite some time.
9. Riding bikes is fun
Some of the easiest things to do in support of the environment also happens to be a lot of fun. Things like riding a bike, taking a walk, and otherwise using your body instead of a smog-producing device can do a lot to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
A lot of these things will also improve your health and give you something to talk about (you’re really riding a bike to work?!).
10. I don’t want to go extinct
Okay, so the human race probably isn’t going to die out any time soon — but we are using up our resources faster than we can replenish them, and that’s bad.
If we continue at the same pace we’re going at now we’ll eventually run out of fossil fuels, then trees, then clean water, then just about everything else that isn’t sustainable. In order to keep up our current way of living, we’re all going to have to start caring more about the environment.
11. Save the world, improve your lifestyle
A major concern of many people is that going green will require a huge (read:negative) change in lifestyle. Again, this is true in some cases, but it’s not nearly the whole story. You can do a lot for the environment while improving your lifestyle at the same time.
For example: Would you rather change a lightbulb once a year or once every ten years? If you chose ten, you should switch to environmentally friendly CFL lighting. Oh, and it will save some money too.
12. World Peace
World peace seems like a tall order, but considering the fact that most of the world’s wars have been fought for control of natural resources, it’s not too much of a stretch. If we can get to the point where we are living sustainably and technology is providing all of our resource needs, things will be a lot different. There will be fewer wars, fewer poor and starving, and we’ll be creating a way of life that can continue indefinitely.
To me that’s a big prize for making a few environmentally-friendly changes in my life.
What do you think? Do you disagree on any of these points? Are there other reasons to care for the environment?
Share your opinion in the comments.