Have you ever noticed that trying to live green, be eco-friendly, and use only organic products seems to cost so much? It seems strange that things cost more money when they have less additives to them, if any additives at all. Let’s take a look at why these things cost more money.

Solar panel parking meter
Creative Commons License Dave Dugdale via Compfight

When it comes to growing things, plants and produce have to fight things like the elements, bugs, and other sorts of nasty things that are in both the air and the ground. Large conglomerates don’t want to take a chance on those products not growing somewhat healthy, so they put a lot of different chemicals on the plants and in the ground to try to protect their growth. What happens is those plants are produced with these chemicals inside them, and therefore they’re passed on to us.

Compare that to plants which are grown organically. One, sometimes they take longer to grow. Two, they need a lot more personal attention to make sure that they grow up healthy. That means more people have to be involved in the process rather than machines. Three, sometimes the ground either gets stripped of its nutrients or needs time to heal, which means farmers need to move crops around all the time and thus need more land to do what they need in order to keep production levels high. More people cost more money, land costs even more money, and those costs are passed on to the consumer.

Let’s take a look at powering our cars. Gasoline is actually pretty easy to extract from oil. It’s a dirty, messy process, but these days it’s fairly efficient. Right now the only people complaining about the cost of oil and gas are the companies that produce it; the price is right for the rest of us.

It cost a lot of money trying to produce hydrogen, which is why we don’t have hydrogen fueled cars yet. The Toyota Prius is an example of an energy-efficient car, but there’s a lot of technology that goes into building one as opposed to building a regular car, along with the more expensive computer system that regulates everything, thus the high price of the previous as opposed to a traditional American car. Electric cars are becoming more expensive and less costly, even at a low price around $22,000 for the cheapest one is much higher than a similar sized car that comes in around $7,500, and that’s a new car.

Technology explains the difference in price between the way homes are traditionally powered compared to using solar power. There’s not as much technology in putting together a standard furnace or water heater that runs off of gas and electricity. But there’s a lot of technology, time and research that goes into creating both solar panels and solar batteries that can store the power.Those costs have to be passed on to someone, so it’s always going to be the consumer.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to be more energy efficient, nor does it mean that we shouldn’t try to buy more things organically. It just means that we might have to adjust our budgets if that’s a big concern for us. Personally, I can go without all the organics, and I can’t see myself in an electric car. Solar is something I’m aiming for, especially living in the Northeast where utility rates fluctuate depending on the weather.

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