I’ve been noticing a change in the environmental arguments and players. Subtle but important.
The politicians are going on in the same path. Especially the Republicans and Tea Partiers, who are pretending their continued disbelief in climate change. And the national Chamber of Commerce seems to be hewing to the same arguments – that reducing our dependence on foreign oil, moving toward green industries with new jobs, and improving our health by reducing pollution are all just so much crazy talk.
So the public fight is just the same. But in cities, towns and states, and in local and state chambers of commerce, the discussion has leaped right over climate change, and groups of people of all political stripes are talking about sustainability. Faced with the reality of storms off the charts, power lines down several times a year, the enormous costs of energy and running fleets of vehicles where light rail and mass transit would save big chunks of money and traffic time – the leadership in corporate America is working to green their businesses, save money through sustainable measures, reduce their weather risks, and recycle throughout their business and product cycles.
At the hardheaded level of day to day expenses and jobs, corporations have already figured this out, and are going green / sustainable rapidly. They are not fighting the EPA on their smokestacks, and they’re not buying old construction materials. Lowe’s and Home Depot no longer even stock lead paint. Companies are switching to LED lights, insulating everything they can find, creating teams of workers in each department to spread sustainability broadly and deeply into their company cultures.
It is exciting to watch, exciting to be in meetings where the tone is practical and hopeful, and there are no questions about whether this globe of ours is warming. These discussions are all about building a prosperous and healthy future, not fighting the battles of the past.
It’ll be interesting to observe when the dinosaurs in Congress notice this profound alteration in the environmental and political landscapes.