Green Into Gold: Breaking Free of Credit Cards

Confession: I am a former credit-card addict. Many years ago I racked up huge debts, played all the games of transferring my balances, thought I was very smart, la la la.

Today I have zero debt, and am much happier. (Smarter, too.) I think many others could be happier in this area, as well. I suggest we all break free of credit cards and stop using them.

How do credit cards relate to treading lightly on the earth and lowering our carbon footprint? There’s a huge correlation between buying what we can’t afford and tearing through resources the earth can’t afford. We in the U.S. are 4% of the world’s population but use 25% of its resources. (This isn’t helping our global popularity, either.) And our level of consumer debt is the highest it’s ever been.

The positive thing is that there’s a large and beautiful intersection between fiscal responsibility and environmental responsibility. This is what I mean by turning green (a low-impact lifestyle) into gold (personal solvency and prosperity). Living within our means is a kindness both to ourselves and to all other species. To do that, we break free of credit cards (different from debit cards, where we are spending funds we actually have).

I realize that deep green (environmental) readers may think I’m going far afield with this topic of our personal finances. But I see our nation’s debting frenzy to be deeply enmeshed with environmental destruction and also global warming. We need to take everything down several notches, from spending to consumption to extraction of resources like oil and timber. It will make us happier overall. It helps us craft a diamond-cut life. It is also the only realistic path, in my, view, to sustainability.

Next post: My Top Five recommendations for how to break free of credit cards, based on how I did it.

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