11. “Going green is but the privilege of the rich”. How true is this?
Solving the existing environmental problems such as global warming and air pollution is indeed costly in terms of the vast amount of money invested in the green energy programmes and other high-tech methods. However, ordinary people do not need to spend much money going green as they can simply take a step to change their lifestyle a bit, by wasting less energy or switching to take public transport. This single step can be taken by everyone regardless of income as long as they have the awareness and the willingness to live a more environmentally friendly life.
The fact that the developed countries where more rich people are living in such as the United States contribute the most to the world’s carbon emissions shows that the rich are causing more environmental problems despite the fact that they seem to put a lot more effort in calling for environmental conservation compared with the poor. The rich has this privilege in terms of choosing the way they prefer to going green only because the lifestyle they are living now and the habits they have are causing more environmental problems than that of the lower class. For example, the rich possess luxury cars which are usually high in emission, so they have a choice not to use them, to go green. On the other hand, the poor are already living a greener life as they do not even have the private motor vehicles to produce so much carbon dioxide.
Some people may argue that only the rich can afford some high-tech instruments that helps reducing waste and save the environment. For example, expensive water saving instruments are only affordable for the rich. But does this mean the poor will definitely consume more water? It is true that there are certain ways of protecting the environment that only the rich can use, but there are always alternative ways for the poor to fulfil the same goal. For example, to pander to the theme of a water-conserving society, the poor can recycle the waste water from washing cloths to clean their floor. We cannot argue that this is an inferior way of saving water compared with the rich as by simply recycling the water instead of buying water saving instruments, the pollution caused during the production of those instruments are eradicated as well. The conclusion we can draw from this example is that both rich and poor can go green, in distinct ways.
But the rich do have some privilege when it comes to the awareness of the severity of the environmental problems. The rich, who have more access to the internet, are exposed to the information on the present situation of the environment all the time. They also receive a more balanced school education, which emphasize more on teaching them to consider and take responsibility of current world affairs and issues including the environmental problems. Therefore the possibility that they will take action to live a more green lifestyle to address the environmental problems is higher than the poor who may not know the severity of the problems well. But this privilege does not really make a great difference in the initiatives of taking action when it comes to protecting the environment. This is because the world has already emphasized so much or even exaggerated the environmental problems that everyone should have the knowledge that we should make an effort to go green.