You can’t turn on the evening news or glance at your favorite news site these days without experiencing a few new statistics about how bad the economy is. From skyrocketing gas prices to staggering unemployment, things just seem to keep getting worse. All things may not be as gloomy as they seem, however, as a bad economy can actually be good news for our environment. Here are five ways our struggling economy is helping to keep our earth healthy.
When gas prices are high, people travel less. They tend to cancel unnecessary travel, consolidate trips, and even take public transportation more often. The less fuel we burn, the less CO2 emissions are being released into the atmosphere. Typically, when gas prices go up, so does air quality.
Delayed or Canceled Purchases
When our budgets get strained in a tough economy, we tend to delay purchases of non-essential items. Things like new patio furniture or small kitchen appliances get put on hold until we have more expendable income. When we replace fewer items, there’s less scrap hitting the landfills and less industrial waste from the manufacturing process.
Repair Instead of Purchase
Even though we’ve had our eyes on that new minivan, an uncertain economy wreaks havoc with the automotive industry. People who are unsure of their job security are more likely to get their current cars repaired than to invest in a new one. This is true for others things as well, from our lawnmowers to our shoes. Just as with the examples above, this results in less industrial waste and landfill mass.
Business Expansion Slows
When people spend less, business expansion slows. This reduces demand on our natural resources, produces less waste and consumes less fuel. Although this further exacerbates an ailing economy, it is actually good news for an ailing planet.
Rent Instead of Buy
When the housing market collapsed, new housing starts spiraled downward as well. As a result, the number of people renting instead of purchasing increased. This put existing housing back into service and all but eliminated new construction. Again, although bad for the economy, it’s better for Mother Earth.
Even though we may be stressing over the high cost of gasoline, high unemployment and an overall stagnant economy, there is a silver lining. For every mile we don’t drive, every new home we don’t buy and every shoe we repair instead of replace, our planet has more time to heal.