Sometimes saving the planet seems like a middle-class fad. It's so expensive, isn't it? Organic food costs more than conventional food, eco-friendly cleaning products cost more than the standard alternatives, low-energy light bulbs cost more than regular ones, and as for solar panels, wind turbines, hybrid cars? Forget it.
It's true that many canny marketers have jumped onto the green bandwagon as an excuse to peddle expensive products, but that's not the essence of an environmental lifestyle. A simple maxim that will get you far is "if it saves money, it's probably saving the planet". If you can't afford low energy light bulbs (actually they'll save you around £100 over their lifetime) just turn off as many lights as you can. There's nothing magic about LE light bulbs that's good for the planet. They just use less electricity. You can use less electricity with a regular light bulb too, by turning it off.
If you can't afford organic food, can you grow some of your own? I once grew cherry tomatoes on the kitchen windowsill of a 3rd-floor flat, and the plant grew so big no light got into the kitchen. We had delicious organic tomatoes every day all summer for the cost of a packet of seeds.
"Eco" cleaning products cost more, but bicarbonate of soda, vinegar and soda crystals are cheap as chips. Hot water and lots of elbow grease is cheaper still. I've got an "A" rated tumble dryer that cost more than a less efficient one, but I make my biggest savings in energy by drying on a line as often as I can. Anyone can do this. Washing at 30-degrees and leaving out the detergent altogether saves money without forking out for "eco" washing powder (I tested this a few months ago and now I don't use any detergents, but find my clothes still get clean without them). Or try using just half the amount of your regular detergent - keep reducing the amount until you find the minimum that gets the clothes clean.
Forget about solar panels and wind turbines. The first thing we all need to do is to reduce the amount of energy we use in the first place, and that means saving money. Drawing curtains after dark, stopping draughts (with home-made draught excluders perhaps), lowering your thermostat, insulating your hot water tank (an old duvet does a great job at this), turning off lights and so on all save money and save the planet as well. Once you are as energy efficient as possible you might want to think about generating your own power, but it makes no sense at all to cover your roof with photovoltaic panels generating electricity that is promptly wasted.
People who are really hard up struggle to run a car, and minimise their journeys because they know how much it costs in petrol. They don't dream of flying all over the place, but maybe save up all year for one holiday with a budget airline or holiday in their home country. It's the well-to do who have the largest carbon footprints, and paying out some of their expendable income on a great big wind turbine for the side of their house may look green but it really isn't making much of an impact. So if you feel you can't afford to be green, you probably already are.