Human-caused climate change has been affecting people globally. As a result, many have been looking to make small changes in their lives to help fight it. We are witnessing the effects of climate change in real-time with increasing temperatures, drought, and the frequency and severity of wildfires and storms. All of these effects are making the planet increasingly inhospitable.
While mega corporations contribute the most to climate change, it's essential to recognize how we contribute to the problem and change our habits accordingly. There are many ways to go green. For example, you can try driving and flying less, being less wasteful, using safer chemicals, and supporting eco-friendly businesses.
One aspect that often gets overlooked when trying to go green is your finances. You might be surprised by how some simple steps to manage your finances can reduce carbon emissions, consume less energy, and create less waste. Below, we'll look at easy ways to go green with your finances.
Going paperless is the first and easiest step to take with your finances. Typically, reducing your use of paper will require fewer trees to be chopped down, thus helping to reduce the carbon in the air. In addition, making paper emits greenhouse gases, so going paperless can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
Almost all financial institutions offer paperless statements, so it should be an easy box for most people to check. There is no need to get your bank statements mailed to you when you can quickly receive a digital copy. In addition, some banks may offer lower maintenance fees for going digital.
Electronic banking is becoming increasingly popular because it's more environmentally friendly and saves customers from traveling to brick-and-mortar locations. So why go to the store when you can deposit checks, pay bills, and transfer funds from the comfort of your home? In addition, electronic banking will eliminate the need for stamps, envelopes, paper documents, and checks, thus reducing your carbon emissions by driving less.
Use Alternative Forms of Travel
Although electronic banking reduces your need to go to the physical location, sometimes you do need to go, whether it's for opening an account or speaking with a representative. If you do need to go, consider alternative means of getting there. For instance, try walking or taking public transportation to reduce your emissions if you live in a city.
The American culture has become a predominantly consumer-driven culture. As a result, companies like Amazon have made ordering anything you want incredibly convenient at a reasonable price.
While it's impossible to eliminate shopping from our lives, try reconsidering your spending habits and buying less. Buying less will reduce your carbon footprint while saving you money. However, if you need to purchase something, consider getting it second-hand. Buying second-hand will divert items from the landfill while saving you money.
Acquiring a Green Loan
Some banks and credit unions offer green loans to fund an energy-saving or water-saving feature in your home or when buying a new home with these features.
Green loans can either be in the form of a traditional loan or a personal loan. Conventional green loans can help fund green-related home improvements, such as solar panels—personal green loans fund environmentally-friendly projects or green mortgages, also known as energy-efficient mortgages (EEMs).
For example, suppose you're looking for a green loan to install energy-saving or water-saving features. In that case, you'll most likely need to work with a certified installer and only purchase equipment that meets their standards. Your financial institution providing the green loan will grant you the lump sum to pay for improvements. Afterward, you'll pay it off in monthly installments.
Follow these steps to acquire a green loan:
- Check your eligibility for a green loan and your credit score.
- Compare several lenders.
- Submit your application (which can be done online or in person) and get approved.
- Pay your debt each month.
There are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint so that you can impact climate change. But, remember, any positive change will still matter, no matter how small. Switching to electronic banking and going paperless are the two most straightforward ways to go green with your finances. In addition, shopping less and choosing alternative travel forms will assist you on your journey.
If you're a homeowner, try making energy and water-saving home improvements, or try purchasing a home that already has these features. It's best to remember that our homes consume a significant amount of energy each year, so reducing that amount can result in substantial water and energy usage reductions.