In his recent address to Congress, the President said that in order to ameliorate the economic damage that been done to the United States, we must take responsibility for our actions that have too often prioritized instant gratification over long-term prosperity.
But how exactly are we to take responsibility? The Daily Green has suggestions that are applicable not only to homebuilders and buyers but for all consumers. Here are some of the best suggestions:
1) Battle the Urge: Want vs. Need. Before you buy that new set of chairs made from virgin forest wood for the living room, ask yourself, do I really need to buy these chairs? The Daily Green says that you can eliminate the impact on the environment (and on your wallet) by choosing alternatives: furniture that isn't made by slashing down virgin forests and doesn't use toxic glues, which erode the environment. 2) The Second-Hand User Ask yourself if you can get a used dresser instead of that "new" one you need. The Daily Green suggests looking at Web sites like Freecycle and Craigslist, as well as thrift stores and garage sales to find a new home for that perfectly reusable piece. 3) Recycling and Well Being in the Works How was the item you plan to buy made and packaged? Apparently, ebay has an entire section called The World of Good dedicated to selling certified environmentally friendly products. Every product has a "Producer Story" blurb next to its description telling the consumer what measures the producer took to create a worker- and environmentally friendly product. You can also see where the product is being shipped from to help you decrease your carbon footprint.
Check out renovateyourworld.com's top energy-saving ideas of 2009 for your home here and how to determine if what you're buying is truly green here.
President Obama warns us that our move toward saving the economy and the environment won't be easy. But with a little bit of self-restraint and smart shopping, together, "we will rebuild, we will recover."