Clean PR

Clean Tech. PR. Sustainable Business.

The greenest week ever?

Economist Cover Story Image I get that green has gone mainstream, but to have cover stories in The Economist, Business 2.0 and BusinessWeek in a one week period? It’s easy to understand when you factor in the smart editorial planning to time these issues with the political events of last week. Regardless, the green noise is loud, and probably more mainstream than ever. Can someone come up with a noise vs. progress meter? The challenge is differentiating between the two.

Here’s a summary:

Business 2.0 does what it’s good at and presents entrepreneurs with humanity’s 9 biggest problems, giving its readers ideas and a challenge to go and build profitable businesses that confront little things like global warming, oil dependency, hunger, dirty air and water, overfishing, epidemics, etc.

BusinessWeek looks at the current green climate through the eyes of investors and Global 1000 companies who are starting to implement more sustainable business practices.

The Economist published a special report on: “Green America: Waking Up and Catching Up.”Definitely check this one out. A few of the highlights:

Many factors lie behind the party’s shift. Most have to do not with sudden sentimentality in the face of Nature, but with national security (a motivation that lies, too, behind Ms Pelosi’s new committee and Mrs Clinton’s patriotic posturing).

…a growing number of evangelical Christians are beginning to see global warming as a moral issue. They argue that mankind, as steward of God’s creation, has a duty to protect the environment.

Even big business, which stands to lose most from stricter environmental regulation, is beginning to accept that change is in the air….Lots of firms are growing healthily on the back of America’s sudden enthusiasm for alternative energy. Americans invested almost $30 billion in the sector in 2006, according to New Energy Finance, a research firm. American venture capitalists lavish seven times more on greenery than their counterparts in Europe. Ethanol production was expected to double in the next few years, even before the latest boost from Mr Bush. Wind and solar power are also booming. And the bigger green firms become the more influence they will have over politicians.

…California is not America’s only green enclave. Nine states in the north-east have combined to reduce emissions from power generation through a cap-and-trade scheme. See Chart:The Economist Chart

Despite all this grassroots environmentalism, America remains the biggest contributor to global warming, accounting for roughly a fifth of all the world’s emissions. The federal government’s recalcitrance on the subject remains the biggest obstacle to an effective global scheme to tackle the problem. But whereas in Europe or Asia new ideas often flow from the centre to the regions, in America the states are the incubators of big shifts in policy. This means that change is coming—fast.

One thing is clear. The engine is running, crowds are cheering and in typical American tradition, another gold rush has begun. We need to get this one right. It can’t be like the diet fads we’ve lived through for the past two decades, where something is popular one day and proved obsolete the next, ending right back where we started: eat lots of fruits and vegetables, steer clear of highly saturated fats, exercise and eat/drink in moderation. I don’t know exactly what it is but there’s a sustainable recipe for this global green transition, and it’s not the easy way out that we’re trained to look for.


January 27, 2007 - Posted by | clean energy, clean tech, public relations, sustainable business

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