June 18th, 2024

Local environmentalist shows green living can help you save


By Ry Clark - for the Lethbridge Herald on March 18, 2022.

Submitted photo Michael Bartz wipes down his solar panels, a safer alternative for the environment that also helps save on electricity.

With energy prices doubling in previous years and inflation rates continuing to push the market into higher brackets it’s hard to have anything left in the bank. In today’s economy you wouldn’t think a sustainable move to help the environment would also save your budget – but for Michael Bartz that possibility has made his ecological footprint smaller and his pockets a lot deeper.
Bartz is a local environmentalist producing and hosting his own podcast ‘In Over My Head’, an educational show teaching his audience about how to reduce their environmental footprint with experts in the field. In 2017 Bartz took on a project of lowering his environmental footprint by building his own tiny house. After four years the project paid off with no mortgage, no debt, and a low cost of living.
But can going green save you green?
Fueled by a curiosity of empowerment Bartz looks at climate issues and uses his ambition to implement change. “The more curious I am about climate change, the more it empowers me, instead of taking a position of tuning out the news and (saying) somebody else will fix it. Getting curious about what does this actually mean and what can I do and what is effective.”
This natural curiosity is driving Bartz to take on a philosophy of being the change and using the skills he’s learned to improve the environment and his lifestyle.
Environmentally-friendly living can help the planet but also help people experiencing hardship from cutbacks and inflation.
“Living in a space that I built myself, a house I built myself, that connection I have is such a deeper level. And that idea feeds into sustainability. When you buy something, you have no personal investment.”
Bartz talks about how building his home helped him learn new skills and how he uses those now to keep his house in peak condition, and cutting down costs when you have the skills to fix it before paying someone to fix it for you.
“Growing up my dad was a mechanic and a welder and he taught me to weld. So I was always building things in the garage, I was always tinkering and constructing things… But as far as tackling an entire house that’d be off grid with solar systems and filtering systems, learning all those things is a steep learning curve.”
Bartz began his project with no professional training and instead taught himself the skills needed to complete his goal without expanding his budget, and using self-driven ambition to build and create something for himself rather than spending money for someone else to do it.

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