Environmentalist vs Cheapskate

In this economy we are all looking for ways to cut our costs, so have we all automatically become environmentalist or are we just cheapskates? It is often reported that going “green” costs more, but isn’t the basis for real environmental responsibility using less to preserve our natural resources? Isn’t the basis for being a true cheapskate, not using any more of your money (resources) than you absolutely have to use? With the incredible waste that we have come to accept in our country, I think we can all learn a lot from the cheapskates among us.

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  • 67.5% of all energy generated is lost before it reaches its destination
  • 30% of air from residential HVAC systems is lost before it reaches the room it was intended for
  • 106,000 aluminum cans are used in the US every thirty seconds
  • 50% of all aluminum cans are NOT recycled
  • 2 million plastic bottles are used in the US every 5 minutes
  • 1.14 Million brown bags are used in US Supermarkets every hour

With all this waste, wouldn’t the cheapskates that you know that will not spend money on things like water in a plastic bottle be an environmentalist? If we decided to say no to plastic and paper bags and consistently use our own bags for each shopping trip, wouldn’t we save resources for future generations. Wouldn’t fixing our inefficient HVAC system save our money and reduce our energy consumption? While the true cheapskate may never invest in the upgrades needed to make their HVAC system efficient or purchase those bags to take to the store, those of us looking at the big picture know that a small investment now can often lead to huge returns later. So should we all become a little more like a cheapskate for the betterment of our environment?

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The definition of sustainability from the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development is “Development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

If we learn from the cheapskates among us to treasure all of our resources and reduce our consumption, we will all take a giant first step to sustainability. If was add the aspect of making decisions that take into consideration the impacts of those decisions on future generations, I think we will achieve the shift needed in our society to achieve sustainability.

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