Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011: A Green Odyssey

The title of this post is inspired by the Stanley Kubrick film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, that I watched for the first time last night. I know. Flash forward to 2011, and while we may not be on our way to Jupiter, there are some tremendous predictions for designing products and processes that create a cleaner, greener earth that may make the case for going to Jupiter, less pressing. While we have a long way to go towards living in a more eco-conscious world, there is much work to be done towards reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, eliminating wasteful processes and valuing natural services, I am seeing the signs of a green awakening everywhere. In 2010, a day did not pass without witnessing evidence of more sustainable business practices and green consumer goods. A really wild example came from a recruiting mailer addressed to my teen son, which exclusively highlighted the variety of sustainable practices and career opportunities of the sender. There was even an offer for an eco-friendly tote bag or t-shirt if he went online to request more information. Did this come from Peace Corp? Greenpeace? The Sierra Club? The EPA? No. It was a recruiting mailer from the National Guard! Wow. When the National Guard starts to go green, big things are poppin'. Either that or someone has a really targeted, on the money, marketing database. Could be both, given the times. But, I digress. The federal government, Wal-mart and other large corporations are evaluating the sustainable business practices of their suppliers and to various degrees, awarding business to the most environmentally friendly vendors. Packaging is shrinking and more often than not, highlighting the amount of recycled content, or sustainable forestry practices. Restaurants are buying produce and foods from local farmers and artisans,  and are using more non-styrofoam takeout boxes. Colleges are touting their green buildings and earth friendly practices, in addition to their sustainable business, alternative energy and sustainable agriculture degree programs. Go Bucks! Grocery stores and drug stores have a wider selection of organic, fair trade and eco-friendly product options. Urban eyesores are being converted to urban edens. I have yet to see a new construction project in my city that was not LEED certified and even existing office buildings are vying for the title of "most energy efficient" by pursuing Energy Star certification. It's beautiful. This progress flies in the face of all the outright lies that have been told about "job killing" climate change intiatives and ignorance displayed in 2010. There will be a big push to maintain the status quo in 2011, it will be a challenging journey on the path leading to a cleaner, greener, friendlier world. HAL 9000 is among us, but the momentum is on the side of change, so let's grab our helmets and go into hyperdrive by speaking out and up for ourselves and for those unable to advocate for themselves, buying green, living consciously and intentionally.

Thank you for role in making 2010 a greener year!

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