Can conservation and consumerism co-exist successfully? Some still have the “conquer the earth at all costs” attitude but there are ways people succeed socially, economically and environmentally. Companies that conserve the earth’s resources while contributing to the economy are cropping up all over the world.
Metaform Studio creates furniture from recycled items by making lamps out of old crates, chairs out of bungee cords, old tires and desks out of discarded pallets. Khader Humied, architect and furniture maker and artist Chris Randolph combine talents to give their recycled furniture flair.
Green building supplies are in high demand and if you don’t make your own out of mud, straw, tires or cans you can purchase eco-friendly materials. Designer and architect Michael Reynolds created the first Earthship made out of recycled material such as tires, pop cans and straw and now there are now hundreds of them. They are solar powered and collect and recycle their own water from rain. People who have purchased Earthships seem content and glad they got away from the rat race to be more in touch with nature. Prices range but to purchase a completed Earthship it costs around 150,000 dollars. It might seem crazy but they’re actually quite functional, attractive and not simple mud huts.
Earthship Biotecture : Earthship Global Model: Radically Sustainable Buildings.
The agricultural industry is booming with new technologies for creating organic produce. Natural methods for pesticides are popular with more options increasing as interest grows. Organic farming is also an industry where people have the opportunity to support fair trade and small farmers who grow organic crops such as coffee, cotton, bamboo, fruit and vegetables. Purchasing certified organic products benefits the environment and helps people get out of poverty by paying them fair prices. It also improves many people’s health because their water quality will improve and they are no longer being forced to ingest toxic chemicals.
Organizations such as Urban Habitat and Apollo Alliance are creating green collar jobs, which contribute socially and environmentally. Since there is a market for the green economy, why not train youth and minorities with new skills? Minorities and people with low incomes tend to be hit the worst with pollution problems. Everyone deserves to benefit from the green economy. New retrofit jobs are created and buildings can be converted so the environment benefits and so does the economy. This translates into more jobs for many people because someone needs to manufacture and install supplies such as solar panels, energy efficient heating and cooling systems, windows and more.
At the Ella Baker Center they campaign for green jobs and prioritize jobs for hard to employ people such as at-risk youth, those with low incomes or formerly incarcerated. “To change our laws and culture, the green movement must attract and include the majority of ALL people, not just the majority of affluent people.” (Vanity Fair)