People from all walks of life are being affected by corporate greed but what are the options?
The Oil companies and utility companies of America would have us all believe that turning to green technologies is difficult expensive and in the long run will not help the American people at all. Yet nothing could be further than the truth. With the effects of global warming becoming more and more apparent there are only a few moronic voices still holding on. On to pipe dreams of bygone years and not willing to accept that if America is to remain a world leader we must change our destructive and resource wasting ways and change soon. Furthermore, to do otherwise would have far greater consequences. That’s than the loss of a mountain range or two. The fact of the matter is the cost of environmental damage in 2010 is equivalent to over 7 trillion dollars according to the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative over 11 percent of global GDP (Gross Domestic Product which is the primary indicator used to guage a country’s economy). Lower GDP means a failing economy.
So who is causing all this damage? Mainly it is 3,000 public companies that are responsible for $2.19 trillion, or one-third, of all global environmental damage. Most of these environment damaging businesses are utilities, oil and gas producers, and industrial metals and mining. Environmental damage costs are usually higher than the cost of preventing pollution and loss of natural resources in fact some economists predict that workers and retirees could see lower or non- existent pension payments from funds invested in companies ravaged by environmental costs. This has already occurred in the United States Airline Industry and is bound many say to affect other sectors if we do not change the status quo.
What can we do?
There are three major things an individual can do to stop the progression toward the grim economic future we are faced with first is to put your money into an “Ethical” Banking institution. Wikipedia describes an ethical bank as” a social, alternative, civic, or sustainable bank. Firstly, it is a bank concerned with the social and environmental impacts of its investments and loans.
Thereby ethical banks are part of a larger movement toward more social and environmental responsibility in the financial sector. This movement includes: ethical investment, socially responsible investment, corporate social responsibility. It is also related to such movements as the fair trade movement etc.
Ethical banks are regulated by the same authorities as traditional banks and have to abide by the same rules. While there are differences between ethical banks, they share a common set of principles, the most prominent being transparency and social and/or environmental aim of the projects they finance. Ethical banks sometimes work with narrower profit margins than traditional ones. Therefore they may have few offices and operate mostly by phone, Internet, or mail.
Secondly an individual can do is invest in a solar system for their home. Systems come in different sizes and price ranges. That will lower your heating and electric bills by 50 to seventy percent or get rid of it altogether. Therefore, many electric companies are mandated by law to give you credit or rebates on energy. Yes, your panels produce thus making your bills negative and no amounts owed. Also many states have tax incentives for those who improve their homes with wind or solar technology. More noteworthy, some major companies that have gone solar include Fox Studios, Costco, Staples, Nokia, and under now the White House is solar.
More interestingly, one of President George W. Bush’s homes in Texas is also powered by alternative energy. The U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offer tax credits. That covers 30 percent of the costs of solar power and other efficient energy systems until the end of year. For solar power, the credit covers solar water heaters (except for pools or hot tubs) and photovoltaic systems. New York’s Solar and Fuel Cell Tax Credit reimburses people through their income taxes for the costs of buying and installing solar-electric and solar-thermal devices. Finally, the tax credit covers 25 percent of the costs, up to $5,000.
In conclusion and lastly, one of the easiest and least costly ways to improve the environment is to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Not only would this age old sage advice help you keep physically fit and maybe lose a few unwanted pounds. Finally, PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) released a report that stated one of the best ways to help the environment is to eat less meat. Finally, thereby citing a United Nations report PETA claims that “the amount of pollution created in raising animals for human consumption” is more than 130 times that of human generated pollution.