Resist With Your Wallet

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The federal budget proposed by our new president calls for the defunding of the Corporation of Public Broadcasting (PBS), the National Endowment for the Arts, National Institute for Health and even Meals On Wheels. The annual cost for each of these programs comes out to between a few cents to a few dollars per US citizen. On the other hand, we can expect a significant increase in the military budget and a multibillion dollar wall across our southern border. One might argue that an increase in military spending will bring some defense contract jobs. In my opinion, the wall is just a make work project to assuage nativist fears.

If you support this budget, pay your taxes with pride. If not, set up gift annuities and make significant tax deductible contributions to organizations you support, including those mentioned above. There are certainly many environmental organizations that also deserve support, more so in the face of deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency. To be clear, global warming is not a hoax made up by the Chinese.

On the topic of climate change, you might agree with me that an increased emphasis on mining, drilling and fracking for fossil fuels is madness. In this case, consider your lifestyle choices. First, you should be driving a hybrid (HEV) or an electric vehicle (EV). Yes, you pay for electricity when you plug in your car to recharge the battery. But the motors in HEVs and EVs are so efficient that you’ll probably break even. Next, comes home heating, cooling and lighting. At the very least, invest in good insulation and convert to LEDs. You might want to look into a geothermal or air source heat pump system instead of using natural gas or heating oil. Induction stove cooking is worth looking into. Over enough years, these systems pay for themselves. The electricity you use can be offset by buying or leasing a solar panel system for your roof. During the summer months, a system of photovoltaic panels can provide all of your electricity.

Finally, think about the food you eat and the stuff you buy. In so far as possible, go organic; go light on foods that have a high carbon footprint to produce, particularly meat. Worldwide, there are 600 million vegetarians. That might seem like a bridge too far, but what you are is how you spend your money which includes what you eat.

—James Peters

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