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Green Tips from the Lazy Environmentalist (aka The Greenest Dad in the World)

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By Lou Carlozo, Green Dad columnist for dealnews

Now that a Swedish luxury-clothing maker has named Josh Dorfman its first-ever Dad of the Year for his environmentalism, you might expect this proud papa of an 8-month-old boy to turn up his green-living intensity.

But you see, Dorfman is a self-described enviroslacker. The Crested Butte, Colo. resident calls himself The Lazy Environmentalist, also the name of the website and blog he’s run since 2005, and his Sundance Channel TV show.

“I was very appreciative to receive it,” Dorfman says of the award from Polarn O. Pyret, given to the dad who inspires children and parents with his responsible and generous behavior. “But I think it would be unrealistic to live a totally green lifestyle. Some choices are too expensive. And take recycling: It’s great if you want to reduce the amount of waste you’re using, but I don’t like it. It’s a pain in the ass.”

Say what?

“The issue for most of us is that we think going green is more work, that it will cost time and money,” Dorfman says. “But if you tell a person they’re going to save money, and that person is not going to change otherwise, that’s what you have to work with. Self-interest is really the key to getting people to change.”

Call it an inconvenient truth, if you will, but Dorfman believes in motivating people to go green by saving them lots of green. He may be lazy, and proud of it. But his bottom line literally rests in his bank balance. And if he can find ways to save the environment, save cash and minimally impact his lifestyle, he’s game.

Case in point: Dorfman points to gazelle.com, which offers a sweet deal for recycling those obstinate, obsolete computer devices that can leak toxic chemicals. “You tell gazelle.com what the device is, they’ll pay for it and send you a prepaid shipping box,” he explains. “So you actually get paid to recycle. It’s not like it’s a pain in the neck anymore. It moves environmental action from something’s that a chore to something that’s in our self-interest.”

Dorfman also sides with those folks who think solar energy is too expensive and complicated. “There are companies today that will lease solar panels for your home for zero down. They do all the installation and maintenance, and charge you a monthly payment that’s smaller than your energy savings. Now if you can lock in a payment that stays the same over 10 years, and put no money down, and you don’t install solar panels, you’re an idiot.” (Those companies, by the way, include solarcity.com, sungevity.com and sunrunhome.com.)

Too lazy to check? Dorfman understands. As for one painless change you can make right now, he suggests a low-flow showerhead. “A lot of them stink,” he cautions. “But I actually like one made by Evolve, called the Roadrunner. The pressure’s good and once the water heats to 95 degrees, it slows to a trickle, until you pull a lever. Evolve did some research and most people turn on the shower, then go make the bed or do something else while the hot water’s running.”

The cost: $39.95. “It would probably pay for itself in a year,” Dorfman says.


Lou Carlozo is dealnews' new Green Dad columnist. He was most recently the managing editor of WalletPop.com, and before that a veteran columnist at the Chicago Tribune. Follow him on Twitter — @LouCarlozo63.



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