50 Simple Things Or The Most Effective Things?

The classic go green book or at least the information from it is now on the web:


However, there is also this classic by the Union Of Concerned Scientists, which argues that it is important to ask people to do the most effective green things rather than asking them to do many little things which may overwhelm people and only make trivial contributions toward saving the environment:


This is just common sense. It is better to spend limited resources on doing activities that produce more value rather than less value. People have a limited amount of money and time to spend on green activities. People also have limits to how many things they can change. Better to use the good will, money, and time they have to ask them to make the changes that help save the environment the most.

Interestingly, I’ve read in reviews of this book which praise the thoroughness of its research and analysis and mention that things like recycling, choosing paper over plastic are not the most effective environmental actions for consumers to do.

I found the list of top priorities for “go green” activities from the book on the web:

1. Choose a place to live that reduces the need to drive.
2. Think twice before purchasing another car.
3. Choose a fuel-efficient, low-polluting car.
4. Set concrete goals for reducing your travel.
5. Whenever practical use alternative transportation.

6. Eat less meat.
7. Buy certified organic produce.

8. Choose your home carefully.
9. Reduce the environmental costs of heating and hot water.
10. Install efficient lighting and appliances.
11. Choose an electricity supplier offering renewable energy.

Alas, nothing is perfect and I think it glaringly lists the most important to do:

choosing to have smaller families and/or educating others to do the same.

Even with improved green technology and consumer behavior in the first world, things can only improve so much as many of the problems are built into the infrastructures of our municipalities, cultures, and lifestyles. I’ve read things over the years that even a green person in the first world still has the impact of 6 – 11 third world people in terms of the draining of resources and generation of pollution.

In other words, over population is a 1st world as well as a 3rd world issue. If we truly care about the environment we will choose to have smaller families and if we already have a family we will make our top green priority educating others about this issue in a friendly way.

That, in addition to using our time, money, and capacity to change on the most effective green changes.

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