It's always necessary to remember, acknowledge, accept + respect that not everyone can choose a more expensive option. At the same time, some of us can...and are simply choosing not to.
Another piece of this conversation is that it was with someone of an older generation. I really do not like generalizations about generations, and I do not mention this in order to make any generalizations about people. I have great respect for the person I was conversing with. They have grown food + canned it + baked bread from scratch + lived a life of simplicity based on the principles of enough + less.
This conversation sparked some thoughts about times past + present. Choosing a more expensive option is not a new concept. The last century (in much of the world) was full of choices that cost more...but brought an increased level of comfort, entertainment, +/or quality of life to the purchaser. People installed indoor heating, bought cars, televisions, microwave ovens, + cell phones for the first time. These purchases were gratifying + satisfying + induced feelings of being "worth it".
In the age of climate change, we are faced with increased costs that don't always feel "worth it" in personal + immediate ways. Converting to solar or wind power, buying an electric car, or investing the time it takes to use public transportation...while offering the possibility of financial returns down the line, do come at a cost. None of these choices really improve the function of our lives in the short run. The value is in the long term health of our planet.
Like Bill Nye said last week, "By the end of this century, if emissions keep rising, the average temperature on earth could go up another 4-8 degrees. What I'm saying is...the planet is on fire. There are a lot of things we can do to put it out. Are any of them free? Of course not, nothing's free!" (I left a couple words out, but you get the idea...if not the urgency.) :)
The thing is that choosing the cheaper status quo (packaged food + fossil fuels + disposable fashion, etc.) comes at a far greater cost. Nothing is free.