Money and sustainability

Our actions are influenced by many things, what we want and what we need, but also how much it costs, and what effects those actions may have on the world (i.e., sustainability). It isn’t possible to disentangle all of these things, and they sometimes pull and push us in completely opposite directions. The set of pieces that are linked below provide some framing to look at the relationship between finances and sustainability. We assume that anyone reading this page is trying to figure out how to balance the demands of having a high quality standard of living, being responsible with one’s spending and investments, while at the same time making choices that don’t damage other people or the environment.

A really good place to start in order to understand the broader perspective of what we can do to stop climate change and how much it will cost (or earn, as many solutions are also economically advantageous) can be found at Project Drawdown, which outlines 100 top solutions for climate change. They have also gone through and calculated how much it would cost to implement each solution, as well as what the value of the benefits would be. For instance, high amounts of rooftop solar installations would cost $450 billion to install, but would generate $3500 billion in savings by the year 2050. This is a great return on investment. It doesn’t mean that every house is right for a solar installation, but it does mean that it is something that we should be implementing wherever it is appropriate.