Environment Forum

Economy leaves consumers feeling more blue than green

December 12, 2008

Has the global economic crisis got you feeling more blue than green? If so, you’re not alone.

U.S. consumers are pulling back spending on everything, and carbon-cutting products like hybrid cars and solar panels are no exception. After all, being green often requires us to pony up big chunks of change with the promise of cost savings later. That pitch, according to many green business owners, isn’t working so well these days.

“People are so scared about the future that they don’t want to commit to paybacks that have too long a window,” said Alan Finkel, owner of Santa Monica-based Green Life Guru, a company that helps homeowners reduce their gas and electricity usage.

A sharp drop in oil prices since this summer hasn’t helped the trend. After all, who needs a hybrid car when fill-ups cost less than $20 a pop?

Of course, there are ways to be green without spending money. We can drive less, recycle more, and resist the urge to crank up the thermostat.

Has the dour economy weakened your green resolve? If not, how are you able to do it without breaking the bank?

PHOTO: Reuters/Fred Prouser

Comments
3 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Nichola, I have not driven a car in 17 years, have not flown in an airplane in 25 years, never go shopping, happy as a clam. We need to change our lifestyles and go back to simpler lives.

Posted by Danny BLoom | Report as abusive
 

I think most people have a negative attitude about the present economy but for the country to rebound we must believe the future will be strong…….we must support the economy with continue responsible buying habits.

 

This all reminds me of FDR’s “There’s nothing to fear but fear itself.” Now, more than ever, is the time for the United States, and Americans, to take the leap of faith — and invest more robustly in renewables, like solar. Fortunately, countries like Germany have seen the light and just yesterday boosted state-backed lending for renewable energy projects to 50 million euros ($67 million) from 20 million previously. The economics of solar power, in Germany at least, are irresistable. It’s a no-risk investment with handsome returns. If the United States gets the right framework in place, I bet people would be coming out of the woodwork to put money into win-win-win investment: lower CO2, create jobs and have a source of electricity that pays for itself within a decade or so. I wish Americans could start thinking a little bit more long term. I had the chance to listen to SolarWorld’s CEO and a few other German solar business leaders a few weeks ago — they sounded remarkably unworried about the economic downturn. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk  /LA485999.htm

Posted by Erik Kirschbaum | Report as abusive
 

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