Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Getting Rid of "Green"

There was an interesting interview with New York Times columnist Tom Friedman in Newsweek on April 13,2009 called "Getting Rid of Green." I especially liked the following question, and his answer:

You're critical of efforts to get people to make small, symbolic gestures to use less energy. What's wrong with that?

The danger is you think that if you change your light bulbs [to compact fluorescents], you've solved the problem. My motto is, change your leaders, not your light bulbs. Because what leaders do is rewrite the rules. They rewrite the rules of what utilities can burn as energy. They rewrite the car-mileage rules. They rewrite the rules of whether a nuclear plant can be built. These are the only things that give you [change at the scale we need]. Without scale change right now, in terms of climate we're really cooked. You know, I come out of the world of covering foreign policy, and that trained me to look for where the leverage points are. I don't think the leverage points now are in more consciousness-raising.

Friedman is looking forward to the day when the word "green" disappears as a qualifier for a fuel efficient home, car, energy, etc...because all cars and homes and energy plants will be built to the highest standards of efficiency and sustainability. I get what he's saying, and I totally agree. Conscious Consuming is a non-profit based on education and consciousness-raising, and I guess we will have done our job when there is no longer a need for that, because government leaders will come to the consensus that a sustainable economy is better than a "growth at any cost" economy. I think we have a long way to go, but we're certainly off to a running start with the Obama administration and his appointees. Oh yeah, and everyone's shaken faith in our current economy doesn't hurt either.

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