As ordinary citizens await to see what will transpire in the coming days and the fallout from the credit/subprime/overall economic decline, one might wonder what effect this might have on the environment.

While most are likely much more worried at this point whether or not their savings and investments will be worth much after this mess and still others wonder whether or not they will have food on the table or a roof over their head.  Still, even others already find themselves hungry and/or without a home.

While you may feel somewhat hopeless about the financial system at-large, there may be some small things you can do to both save money and improve your envirohuman impact simultaneously.  

  1. Drive less:  Choose to walk, ride your bike, or use public transportation.  If you do drive, clean out all of that junk in your trunk.
  2. Begin gardening:  Yes, winter is approaching, but if your climate is right, you may be able to squeeze in a quick planting and harvest.  Ask your local nursery or garden shop.  Also, you can garden herbs year-round in pots on your window sill.  They’re attractive, smell nice, and spicing up your cooking does not get fresher than that!  Then, you will not be paying $4.00 for a small package of basil for your next batch of homemade pesto.  Seeds run for about a dollar a packet and often keep on giving!
  3. If you eat meat regularly, skip meat completely for a day or two every week.  Notice how much that meat costs?  It can add a few dollars to a meal or even be the main cost.  In part, this is because there is a lot of energy input, in this case, food, for that chicken thigh to be nice and juicy.  But by finding ways to skip meat, you’re avoiding that cost and improving your envirohuman impact because the meat industry pollutes our air and water — especially the factory farms where most of the meat in the U.S. comes from.
  4. Check your store for deals.  Find a good price?  Stock up.  Yeah, that’s personal finance 101, but it also means you’ll likely be driving to the store less, because more meals will be on the shelf.  Trying to go organic?  Great!  Whole Foods has a constant deal where if you buy a case of an item, let’s say, organic soup, which I bought the other day, you get 10% off.  Now, that may not seem like a lot, but I bought a case of soup at $2.69 per can with maybe about $0.27 off of each can.  So, compare my $2.42 can of soup for that effortless meal to your $15 (minimum) pizza delivery (delivered one meal at a time by someone driving a car) and you can see both the financial and environmental savings.  I had my soup boiling and was finished eating probably before your pizza even arrived!
This list is by no means exhaustive but should get your gears turning regarding the little aspects of your life you can tweak in order to stretch your dollar when the economy is tumbling erratically.