Are We Funding Our Own Demise?

Daisy Demise | Source: jumpinjimmyjava on Flickr under CC By 2.0 LicenceThe following is a condensed, less academic excerpt of a paper I recently wrote for my final graduate course. It also represents the completion of Task #3 on my 9-Week Productivity Challenge and the beginning of a series of posts here on Earth and Money related the social and environmental impacts of our investments. The series began unofficially two weeks ago with a look at an emerging type of investment vehicle, community bonds.

Basic economics would dictate that public demand drives the success and failure of various enterprises. A company can only sell a product if someone desires it (though through good marketing, they can manufacture that desire as well). However, while average Canadians make greater strides towards environmental consciousness, they may be undoing their own efforts by bankrolling the very companies they are boycotting or attempting to avoid with their investments. In a nutshell, Canadians (and quite frankly, citizens worldwide) are funding their own demise by supporting companies which create unhealthy environments. This, in and of itself, is a major environmental health problem that has been grossly overlooked in the current environmental movement. When a consumer goes out of their way to purchase organic foods, what purpose does that serve if they have their money invested in companies that seek to produce unsustainable, pesticide-laced foods which only drive up the price of the very organic foods that they want to purchase?

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Tetra Pak – The Sequel

Tetra Pak Logo | Source: Tetra Pak on Flickr under CC BY-ND 2.0 LicenceAbout two months ago, I wrote an article about an environmental dilemma in which I found myself – to buy local, organic juice packaged in Tetra Pak containers or imported, organic juice packaged in glass containers. In the end, I chose the glass-contained juice because I believed that the end-of-life management options, which included recycling the product locally, outweighed the environmental cost of importing the juice from across the country. The Tetra Paks, I found out, were being shipped halfway around the world to China and Korea for recycling. About a week or two after posting that article, I got an email from the Carton Council of Canada, defending Tetra Paks. I feel that its important to share the contents of the email, so everyone can benefit, and though I didn’t have time to earlier, today I’d like to respond to it because they did bring some interesting issues to light.

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Seven Reasons for Renting over Buying

House | Source: Noa_Schek on FlickrYesterday, I was in my local public library, and I picked up a magazine focused on the local  real estate market. One of the articles was written by a couple who had recently sold their house in the city and started renting again. They claim that life has never been better. I devoured the rest of the article with rapt attention. I’ve been renting in the city for years now, ever since I moved here, as the Toronto housing market just seems unattainably expensive. But I’ve always had that nagging itch to buy and to own, to not have to deal with irresponsible landlords and leases. The article, though, reminded me of a lot of the good reasons to rent…
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