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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Spending the Stimulus

Air Date: Week of

More than 130 million taxpayers will get an economic stimulus check beginning in May. (Photo: kittykatfish on flickr)

Congressman Brian Baird wants Americans to use their economic stimulus checks to benefit the environment. What will people do with the money? Living on Earth’s Bobby Bascomb hit the street to find out.


GELLERMAN: Meanwhile, another idea to help green America has been proposed on Capitol Hill, and Living on Earth’s Bobby Bascomb has been checking it out.

BASCOMB: Starting in May, Americans will be getting free money. The economic stimulus package will give most taxpayers about 600 dollars each, plus 300 dollars per child. Congressman Brian Baird, a Washington State Democrat, wants people to use that cash to buy green home technologies.

BAIRD: If you invest it wisely by purchasing energy efficient and conservation products you will be paying yourself for years to come and be part of helping reduce our nation’s carbon footprint and that I think is a very beneficial use of a stimulus package, which I think otherwise could go to waste.

BASCOMB: Home improvement stores are offering special rebates and sales on green products. Sierra Club President Carl Pope says things like energy efficient appliances and even old fashioned clothes lines could save more than 150 billion dollars a year in energy costs.

Congressman Brian Baird said spending the economic stimulus check on green products will pay dividends in the future. (Photo: U.S. House of Representatives)

POPE: And it would also make a significant impact in beginning to bring down the amount of energy we use, which contributes to global warming, to air pollution and to other problems.

BASCOMB: So, Congress wants to boost the economy and Home Depot wants to sell washing machines. But what about regular people? I hit the street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to find out.

MAN 1: So, what am I gonna to do with my economic stimulus return? I’m a father and I have six kids, one of who is headed off to college, so I’ll probably use that to help pay her college tuition.

WOMAN 1: I will take everybody’s tax return in the family and put it into more efficient appliances for a new kitchen.

MAN 2: I mean, honestly I would like a nice flat-screen TV a lot more than I’d want an energy-efficient dishwasher. I’m all for saving the environment, too, though, but TV’s are nice.

WOMAN 2: We’re putting in a vegetable garden this year to grow locally, right in our own yard. We’ve got a good patch going.

WOMAN 3: I’m planning on getting a tattoo with my money, but if I didn’t have a bike I’d probably get one.

WOMAN 4: Although I want to take a vacation, I have to pay bills with it.

(Photo: kittykatfish on flickr)

MAN 3: I plan to spend my money on regular things: clothes, music, cigarettes – that kind of stuff.

MAN 4: I’m either gonna do exactly what the government doesn’t want me to do and save every penny of it, or I might buy a new surfboard.

MAN 5: I am using my 600 dollars to buy a bike and throw my car away. Save Mother Nature.

GELLERMAN: Some voices from the street, gathered by Living on Earth’s Bobby Bascomb. Coming up – know that for destruction, ice will suffice, and then some. Keep listening to Living on Earth!



Sierra Club

Homepage for Congressman Brian Baird


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