By Gerri Elder
Going green isn't cheap. Many environmentally friendly products still cost more, and in today's troubled economic times with mass layoffs and so many people faced with mortgage foreclosure and considering filing bankruptcy, they can be difficult to afford.
A recent article by the Washington Independent posed an interesting question: Could the green industry be the key to rescuing the economy?
Reportedly, a growing number of economists and policymakers feel that targeted federal investments in green energy sources and technologies would create jobs and turn the U.S. economy around.
There is an effort being made to persuade Congress to enact legislation that would make green investments a priority.
This, the experts say, could jump-start the flat-lined economy.
The proposed plan of action would include large financial investments in green as part of a new economic stimulus package.
These investments would be intended to create new job opportunities for Americans and drive development
Experts say that these investments in environmental resources and technologies would make the United States more competitive in the long run.
Sounds like a win-win situation, right? It certainly sounds good for the environment, good for the economy and good for the American people.
Not so fast though - the proposal has not been so readily accepted in Washington.
The Washington Independent noted that many Republicans (and a handful of Democrats) feel that protecting the environment is a threat to economic progress.
The Bush administration has not been friendly to the idea of environmental protection. In 2008, the White House pushed efforts to expand offshore oil drilling, tap Western oil-shale reserves and allow mountaintop miners to destroy miles of valley streams.
All of these efforts were propelled forward with the sole intention of relieving burdens on traditional industries.
But with the economy in a tailspin and oil prices all over the place, lawmakers are gradually beginning to listen to environmental and economic experts.
Many experts agree that the most effective way to combat the current economic and environmental crises is to inject an enormous amount of cash into green industries.
The transition to green energy sources would reduce American dependence on foreign oil, create new jobs and be a bit easier on our planet.
A growing number of economists say that the environmental technology industry will be the next big financial boom and the rewards will be great for countries on the leading edge.
There is hope that the United States will be one of the countries that reaps those benefits.
However, as we've established, going green is expensive. It will take a lot of federal cash to develop these renewable technologies.
With this money applied to green technology development, the money will stay within the United States and help boost the economy.
But it may be a tough sell to those lawmakers who don't believe that environmental issues are important. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), for instance, has called global warming a "hoax".
But thankfully, others are coming around and able to draw logical conclusions about what needs to be done for the economy and the environment in order to restore the economy.