I don’t have any sources to support this theory offhand, but I imagine that the recession has helped the green movement. When money’s tight, people are more reluctant to waste resources and throw things away, saving landfill space; likewise, the recent renewed interest in eating some food grown in your garden is both economically and environmentally sensible. It’s funny that a lot of the things that we can easily change about our lifestyles to make them more sustainable (for example, using containers for lunch rather than foil or plastic wrap) also make good financial sense.
The recession has helped in the sense that people are now more aware of wasteful spending. Wasteful spending and consuming go hand in hand, therefore, the less people spend, the less they contribute as far as waste. For every t-shirt a person buys, tons of resources are used including water, labor, and fabric material. When money is abundant, one might lose sight of the history behind every piece they buy. But once someone is more conscious of the money they are spending, they use what they already have more thoughtfully. Looking at it that way, the recession has to help. With people buying, driving, and consuming less, the environment can only benefit from our recent change in habits. People are starting to look at their lifestyles in a different way, and because this recession was relatively severe, I think eco-friendly behavior will benefit our pocketbooks enough to last.
In another aspect, prices for green products are generally more expensive due to higher production costs and quality. With tightening budgets, consumers are shifting focus and may see green item purchases as more of a luxury. On the other hand, as economic pressure grows, consumption is slowing down, and creative methods of recycling, reusing emerge.
I think the recession will eventually lead to new innovations in the hopes of job creation. If new, green products need to be made, hopefully new and green industry will pop up to support the creation and production of new innovations.
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