Going green is no longer an option. Its not just about saving the planet, climate change or a lost tribe of indigenous people in some far off land. This time its also about your wallet. Its time for you to SAVE SOME MONEY and the doing good part is the by-product that will help climate change, yes, the entire planet.

1. GENERATE YOU OWN ENERGY

Eskom had already given us a 30% tariff increase in 2009 and are looking for an additional 147% in staggered increases over the next few years. This will make your electricity bill higher than your rates bill every month, and that is a frightening thought.

There are two solutions to generating power from your home – solar and wind. The so called experts here feel that wind energy is not viable in South Africa. We apparently have the wrong kind of wind. But almost every other country in the world is using wind power to create sustainable energy. Mexico City and Denver, Colorado, have the exact same number of sunny days, and are also the same 2000m above sea level as is Johannesburg. Both of these cities are pioneering wind to energy farms. Some Colorado farmers are making more money selling power into the grid through their wind farms and they make from their old farming activities.

YOUR ACTION: install a solar powered geyser and ask your provider to find you a small wind powered unit as well. Ask about the Eskom rebate. Putting a small amount down and financing the balance on your home loan will cost you much less than the electricity would have cost you. You cannot afford not to do this.

2. SAVE WATER

Water is currently our biggest issue in South Africa with severe water shortages and restrictions. The government is out dire warnings of Cape Town running out of water in 100 days time. Ignore these and the power outages will seem a trivial matter. Water is also becoming expensive and we are only at the beginning of the cost increases. South Africa does not have enough water as this resource is actually drying up.

YOUR ACTION: make water your solvable resolution in 2017. Choose a drip irrigation system, a grey water system and capture rainwater – each or any one of those solutions will make a massive difference.

3. GROW AN ORGANIC GARDEN

The cost increases that we are going to experience for both energy and water will see food prices more than double again over the next five years. We have already seen food prices double over the past five years – just compare your supermarket receipt with what you’ve actually got in your shopping cart. Most people love to plant flowers – but vegetables and herbs can look just as beautiful and can be grown alongside flowers with a little bit of planning. The difference is you can eat your garden and that will save you a lot of money over the year. The actual cost of growing your organic garden is very little, and with your newly installed drip-irrigation system, water won’t be a problem either.

YOUR ACTION: grow your organic garden. Almost any big nursery can help you. Choose fruits, vegetables and salads that you like and eat a lot of. Tending to your own garden will get you into a space that relieves stress, and eating this fresh food will give you the most pleasure you will experience all year. It’s cheap and saves a lot of money – how can you not do it?

4. BUY CHEMICAL FREE

Every time you buy a chemical free product you are doing yourself and your family a great service. In 1950 one in ten women could expect to get cancer – today four in ten are likely to get cancer. Buying organic is essential to your family’s well being. The organic certification is your guarantee that what you are buying is chemical free. People always complain saying that it costs more to buy organic. That’s not always true. Bananas, grapes and tomatoes are all the same cost.

YOUR ACTION: buy essential chemical and hormone-free organic products. These should include meat and dairy products, baby foods, cooking oils, wines, teas and coffees, vegetables, salads, and fruit. Eat less, eat healthier and enjoy life more.

Going green is not difficult, it’s just about making smarter decisions. It all starts with action – making a decision to make a change for the better. 2017 will be a landmark year for South Africa – lets embrace that and make it a banner year for every south African.

Until next time…