How Building Wealth Can Help Reduce Climate Change

This is the second year in a row Money Under 30 is participating in Blog Action Day. This year’s theme is climate change.

When it comes down to it, a big component of building wealth is learning to stop being wasteful. We need to stop wasting money (so we can save and invest it), but when we stop wasting money, we also stop wasting the things we use money to buy. And when we buy less of things that leave carbon footprints when they are produced and transported across the globe, we in fact help slow climate change.

Does getting wealthy and buying less seem counter-intuitive? It really isn’t.

There is a part of Americans’ collective conscious that immediately links wealth with excess. Only the rich own multiple cars, big houses, and private planes. So being wealthy must mean being wasteful, right?

The reality is that for every one millionaire who owns more vehicles and a bigger house than she needs, there’s a millionaire who looks like you and me—living in a modest home and driving a dinged-up Toyota with more than 100,000 miles on it.

In fact it’s not only common to be wealthy and frugal, most people have to be frugal before they become wealthy. And being frugal is good for the environment.

That’s why a big component of my financial plan is living with less. I don’t want a big McMansion and a ton of possessions. I’m not saying I’m going to stop consuming altogether; I’ll still buy things that I will really value, but I will buy a lot less.

Critics say that people who want to live with less have given up “success”.

But I assure you, if you are learning to earn more and consume less (and grow wealthy in the meantime), you are not “giving up” on success. You are redefining it.

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About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.


  1. I never thought of the connection between learning to be frugal and the benefit for the environment. Just one more reason to learn and benefit of learning frugality on the quest for wealth.

  2. well Elinor Ostrom won the nobel prize for economics for her work on the economics of ecosystems.

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