The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is better known as a meeting of global elites – the rich, the powerful, and, disproportionately, middle-aged, white, cis-men. But, in 2020, the real stars of Davos are teenage girls with a compelling message to share.

Greta Thunberg, one of the most vocal critics of climate change policy, began her presentation on Tuesday with a question to the audience: 

“I wonder, what will you tell your children was the reason to fail and leave them facing the climate chaos you knowingly brought upon them?”

“Our house is still on fire,” the Swedish activist continued. “Your inaction is fueling the flames by the hour.” 

The 17-year-old was not the only teenager speaking truth to power in a snowy village in the Swiss Alps.

Melati Wijsen, an 18-year-old Dutch-Indonesian activist, founded Bye Bye Plastic bags

with her younger sister in 2013. She was invited to speak to the forum on Wednesday about her successful campaign to ban plastic bags, straws and Styrofoam on her home island of Bali in 2019.

“We constantly asked, ‘What’s someone going to do about this?’ And you sometimes forget that you can be that someone.”

Here at MoneyUnder30, we want you to be that someone.

But for us, it’s not enough that you save the world – we want to save you money too.

Kermit may have sung “It’s not easy being green,” but we’re here to tell you, it’s more straightforward than you think. And you don’t have to worry about Miss Piggy turning up at an inopportune moment.

Here are seven ways you can reduce your eco-footprint while keeping more cash in your wallet.

1. Marie Kondo your home

Davos: Seven Ways to Save the World – And Your Money - Marie Kondo

Davos: Seven Ways to Save the World – And Your Money - Marie Kondo

Does your living space “spark joy” or fear? Are you really going to keep that joke Christmas sweater for another year? Does the sheer abundance of your stuff threaten to overwhelm you and your home?

Now’s your chance to follow the wise words of Japanese lifestyle guru, Marie Kondo, and recycle or gift your unwanted clothes to a charity shop.

Try limiting your wardrobe to a few key items that make you feel like a million dollars instead of spending them. Check out thrift stores for second-hand bargains and use digital books instead of paper ones to save on space and money.

And if you’re thinking of renovating your apartment, check out our article on cheap apartment decorating ideas for ethical decoration and money-saving tips.

2. Shop ethically

Davos: Seven Ways to Save the World – And Your Money - Shop ethically

Davos: Seven Ways to Save the World – And Your Money - Shop ethically

Once you’ve Marie Kondoed your home (yes, that is a verb now), you can start to think about filling it with clutter again… Joke!

Although it might be tempting, you need to make sure that your home and wardrobe stay as pristine as when you first cleared them out. To do this, you can become a conscious shopper.

Read our handy guide here to find out how to dress like a superstar on the cheap, while making sure you’re rich in environmental points. Leonardo DiCaprio, eat ya heart out!

3. Clear your plate

Davos: Seven Ways to Save the World – And Your Money - Shopping list

Davos: Seven Ways to Save the World – And Your Money - Shopping list

Remember when you went to your grandparent’s house as a kid and you weren’t allowed to waste a single mouthful of food? Well, your grandma was right. Your grandpop knows what our generation forgot: waste not, want not. Worldwide, around 25% of food is wasted and Americans are even worse, wasting 30 to 40% of the food supply, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The first thing you can do is to eat the food you have. Supermarkets make us greedy and are designed to make us buy what we don’t need. To get around this, devise weekly meal plans so you buy the food you’ve planned for rather than the jumbo packs of Twizzlers and potato chips that try to catch your eye.

Bonus point: As the dollars mount up, you might find that the extra pounds melt away.

4. Eat your greens

Davos: Seven Ways to Save the World – And Your Money - Eat your greens

Davos: Seven Ways to Save the World – And Your Money - Eat your greens

The title of this article could also be called “Your mom is always right,” but we know that you don’t want to read that so we’ll just remind you that not only are vegetables good for you but skipping on the double bacon cheeseburger is good for the environment too.

Making our diets more plant-based could reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by up to eight billion tons per year by 2050, according to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

We don’t all have to become bean-eating vegans (unless you want to!) but campaigns like Veganuary and Meatless Mondays are designed to help you eat less meat in a manageable way. And while we’re at it, we can cut out single-use plastic and go for reusable sandwich and snack boxes to store our lunchtime leftovers.

5. Know where your money goes

Davos: Seven Ways to Save the World – And Your Money - Know where your money goes

Davos: Seven Ways to Save the World – And Your Money - Know where your money goes

Do you know where your money goes? Changing your bank is one of the easiest ways to ensure your money isn’t fueling dirty business and damaging the environment.

Find out what your bank’s investment portfolio is and if you don’t like the sound of it, vote with your feet and find a new one. Our article tells you how you can switch bank accounts in three simple steps.

6. Invest ethically

Davos: Seven Ways to Save the World – And Your Money - Invest responsibility

Davos: Seven Ways to Save the World – And Your Money - Invest responsibility

Perhaps you’re already a step ahead of the game with an ethical bank (they do exist!) and now you want to invest in a socially responsible way. Fear not, because Money Under 30 has this guide to help you do just that.

And if you’re looking for investments that align with your social values, check out our article on Motif, an alternative broker that lets you create your own “motifs” of stocks.

7. Go electric!

Davos: Seven Ways to Save the World – And Your Money - Go electric

Davos: Seven Ways to Save the World – And Your Money - Go electric

Owning – and driving – an electric car can save you money while you feel good as you cruise around. A 2018 study by the University of Michigan found that the total cost of ownership for an electric car is $485 per year versus $1,117 for gas vehicles.

Our article has more information on some of the things you need to consider before you buy.

Summary

Whether it’s recycling old clothes, wasting less food or being more careful about where your money goes, you too can be more like Greta. You might not have a platform at Davos but it’s never too late to take a stand – and save yourself some cash along the way.

Happy saving!

Read more:

  • How Can “Going Green” Actually Save You Money?
  • Treat Yourself Without Guilt: Our Guide To Shopping Ethically