In my last column, I featured what I still consider to be the world’s most energy efficient (but until I figure it out, not solar powered) hot tub. But it was plastered on the front page of The Cambrian a couple weeks ago not for its efficiencies, but for the fact that it is filled with rainwater. (It is — if I run out, it’s mothballed).
If you missed the column, email email@example.com with your postal address and I’ll send a copy of the column and other good stuff.
Now we turn to green investing or SRI (socially responsible investing). Well, right, if you make money investing, you’ll see some “green,” right? That’s not exactly what I had in mind.
According to a recent article by Stan Choe of the Associated Press, “More people are looking for investments that not only rise in value but also hold true to their personal values.”
He stated that the money behind such causes stands at $6.5 trillion (2014 figure).
These investments often are environmentally oriented and sustainable, offered by companies that encourage society’s conversion to electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles; solar power (photovoltaic or concentrated solar power, which our county has two examples of, the latter in the Carrizo Plains); and/or organic food production (non-GMO), etc.
Right now, I have in my portfolio a stake in Tesla, and I’ve had a stake in First Solar. I also once had an investment in fuel cells.
However, I don’t have a “green broker.” In a chapter of my book “Crisis Investing and Entrepreneuring,” published during the economic downturn, there is a discussion of such firms. San Luis Obispo has one, Natural Investment Services, and a principal, Jack Brill, wrote the book “Investing with Your Values: Making Money and Making a Difference.” Another is Calvert Social Investments. (A clearinghouse is at socialinvest.org.)
A company that has kept me on its mailing list “forever” — despite my unwillingness to use them (so far) — is Green Century Funds. Give them credit for persistence. …
I wrote in my book that I would invest in SRIs that made less money than I would get from a “conscious-less firm.” At the time, I was thinking maybe 5 percent vs. 6 percent in dividends and total value inflation. Now, of course, those figures are difficult to achieve, and many of us don’t know where to put our money (except safe in a mattress?) since bank CDs are paying less than 1 percent interest.
I have a few ideas, but this really isn’t the column for that. …
But if you have to “gamble,” at least consider some green funds. Also in my book, I suggest investing with small local firms or nonprofits that are doing good deeds. Locally: Greenspace, Fiscalini Ranch Preserve and the permaculture group that Teresa Lees is involved with.
It’s not a formal investment but, for example, I’m always trying to help Bob Banner of Hopedance.org, because I believe in what he’s doing so much. If the you-know-what hits the fan, as it certainly could, Bob is a very good man to know (I co-sponsored two showings in Cambria of his film, “Last Call at the Oasis.”) Bob puts on many films in the area devoted to sustainability.
Choe reviews in his piece the issue of whether this is just a boomer thing. Not really — surveys show that younger people are translating their beliefs into behavior. They’re twice as likely to check product packaging about sustainability and three times as likely to choose a job with a company that has a “sustainable stance.”
I was at Woodstock (as a press photographer) back in 1969, and it certainly influenced my course in life. Glad I’m not the only one who still has Earth-centric values, and who remains an inveterate pragmatist.
I intend to do a free rainwater harvesting demonstration at my house at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 12. To sign up, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your phone number. Put “Demo” in the subject line.