Most of us like the idea of being environmentally friendly, but we’re disinterested in making certain changes because they’re expensive, inconvenient, or both. In the short term, we’ll be forced to make tough decisions regarding our sustainability – but in the long term, it’s going to get easier and easier to be environmentally friendly.
For starters, we’re going to develop more individual and collective knowledge about environmental friendliness. Over the years, scientists are going to conduct more research, we’re going to gain more experience, and we’re going to figure out more precise environmental impact measures for a variety of activities. Given enough time, new insights are going to open us up to new habit changes, new possibilities, and new perspectives on how to be environmentally friendly.
For example, your intuition may lead you to believe that bidets are not environmentally friendly. They use additional water, after all, and we need to conserve water. But modern bidets can improve your positive environmental impact overall, since they use very minimal water and yet save you from using absurd amounts of toilet paper.
Together, we’re all going to learn more about the impact of our habits on the environment, and we’ll work gradually to adopt more efficient, environmentally friendly behaviors.
Technological Progress and Cost Effectiveness
Technology is also going to improve. Inventors, researchers, and scientists are constantly working to innovate new products and make our existing technology even more efficient. Our upward trajectory on this front has been consistent for centuries now, and is unlikely to fade anytime soon. Accordingly, we can expect all our technology to continuously grow more efficient, more sustainable, and more practical.
We can see major changes here already unfolding. For example, let’s take a look at solar energy. When solar panels were first introduced, they were relatively inefficient, expensive, and hard to install.
Today, solar energy is cheaper than it’s ever been before – and it’s a cheaper form of energy generation than most other traditional energy sources. It’s also relatively easy to acquire solar panels and install them wherever you like, even if it’s on the roof of your own home.
With more advancements like these, clean energy is going to become more plentiful, and it’s going to be easier to continue our current lifestyles while utilizing less energy and spending less money.
Available Consumer Options
Already, consumers are enjoying a greater diversity of products and services available to them. When you go shopping, you may be able to choose between sustainable and non-sustainable versions of the same product. In time, your range of choices is going to grow even further, making it easier and easier to make sustainable, environmentally friendly choices.
· Efficient appliances and devices. For example, most new appliances and devices have at least some features that make them energy efficient. In the next few years and decades, we’ll probably see even more efficient options and new types of efficient options emerge. Give it long enough, and eventually consumers will have hundreds of possible choices for every purchasing decision, each more efficient than the last.
· Recycled materials. Companies are starting to take recycling and sustainability very seriously. That’s why we’re seeing an increased number of products made from recycled materials on the market. It’s getting easier and easier to choose products that were created sustainably because of this.
· Better company practices. Today, 92 percent of Fortune 500 companies now publish sustainability reports. That’s because consumers care about sustainability more than ever before. It’s likely this trend will continue, and even more companies will begin publishing sustainability reports. Once this information is out in the open, it’s going to be much easier to work with environmentally friendly companies over non-environmentally friendly ones.
Programs and Initiatives
New programs and initiatives will also emerge to make environmentally friendly practices easier for average consumers. For example, advancements in recycling have made it easy for consumers to collect all their recyclables in loose containers, rather than driving to a specific facility and sorting all their recyclables individually.
When environmental friendliness is cheaper and more convenient for the masses, it’s going to become a no brainer.
Attitudes and Acceptance
We also need to acknowledge that environmental friendliness is increasingly fashionable, with the majority of the population supporting environmental sustainability programs. As environmental consciousness grows and spreads, it’s going to be easier to convince people to take responsibility for their environmental impact – and much easier for us to build wholly sustainable communities.
Today, living an environmentally friendly life is easier than it’s ever been before. And thanks to new technologies, new programs and initiatives, and changing attitudes, it’s only going to get easier. In a decade or two, there may be no more excuses for not living a sustainable lifestyle.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.