Sunday, September 24, 2006

Outdoor Industries Support Sustainable Efforts

We are getting ready for the Interbike Trade Show, starting on Wednesday, Sept. 27th. The past few weeks have been a flurry of activity, creative energy, and some good-natured stress. In a few days, in what seems to be a few minutes, it will all be over and we will be laughing about the things we were worrying about.

The headline of this post is a good thing. Tradeshows and expos consume many thousands of megawatt hours of electricity yearly, and the fossil fuel emissions associated with the airline transportation for the hundreds of thousands of global attendees is an important contributor to green house gas emissions. At least it's more efficient than everyone driving individually.

I still imagine a day when every last bit of manufactured materials or transportation energy will be reused or created from a sustainable source. Well, 100% reuse may not be physically possible, but any part of the item that does not get remanufactured will dissolve harmlessly into the environment. Utopian? Yes. Hopelessly utopian? No.

Friday, September 22, 2006

New Greening of America

Newsweek's the New Greening of America.

This article came up in conversation last week as I attended an after work networking event with the Green Drinks crew. It was a refreshing evening, with talk among like-minded professionals about engaging capitalism in the quest to "save the planet".

Wal*Mart's commitment to greening their supply chain may have some teeth. In correspondence with a business acquaintance familiar with both the practice of sustainability and what Wal*Mart is seeking to accomplish, he is cautiously optimistic about their capabilities and their intent. The reality of the situation is that once Wal*Mart sees a potential cost savings they can pass along to their shareholders, they'll pursue it with dogged determination. This effort is driven by the potential cost savings, but the fact that it may potentially clean up their image is certainly being massaged by their spin doctors. Perhaps they are thinking that reducing fossil fuel use will make people forget about the whole healthcare/part time worker issue?

Speaking of healthcare, Wal*Mart, and sustainability, what would happen if Wal*Mart applied its buying power to something like fluorescent light bulbs, not just for sale, but for its own use? It's already happening. Look what's happening as it enters prescription drugs. 70% savings on some drugs; what does that mean to the consumer? What would 70% off of sustainably produced coffee do? Make the workers suffer? Increase sales and therefore create more revenue for the workers?

I attended the Portsmouth Crit today. I'll not bore you with recapping the race. It is enough to say I showed up, started and lasted less than 1/2 the 45 minutes. Lame. Soon after, I found myself reading news on the Portsmouth Herald website about wind energy and the fact that citizens in the oh so much more environmentally aware country of Denmark actually do not ALL want wind energy. What?! You mean they are not ecstatic over every last wind energy proposal?