Friday, July 14, 2006

We're here...we''re not going anywhere?

Uh-oh. Looks like I need to make a little room on the bandwagon:

Eco-consciousness appears to be hitting the mainstream. For years, it was only the truly committed, the painfully hip and the guiltily ashamed who were willing to stand up in public and say they were willing to do something for the environment.

Now environmentalism has gone way beyond the sandal-ista crowd. We just may be entering a time when everyone from average individuals to giant corporations to politicians of all ideologies agree that the evidence of environmental degradation is so overwhelming that it's finally time to act
And for that, you can thank the loosening of the strangehold that Baby Boomers have had on society for the past thirty years, and start appreciating the younger generations. Seriously, if there was a more selfish generation, I'd like to see it. Environmental destruction? Check. Massive deficits? Check. Elimination of increases in the minimum wage? Check. Elimination of certain taxes for the wealthy? Check. Look, don't get mad at me for pointing it out...who keeps voting the Republicans in? Where's the base? It ain't amongst the kids (or anyone under 35). And shockingly (not), now that all the Baby Boomers have retired and want to ensure their entitlements stick around, they start voting Democrat. Its one long selfish decision after another. Sigh. Rant over. Love you mom.

How to be carbon neutral, though? It turns out it's as easy as writing a check. Various organizations will take your money and then go invest in planting trees, developing wind farms and other activities that "offset" the carbon dioxide you're responsible for creating.

It sounds a little nutty, and there is disagreement as to how well such a system works. But if you think about it, it's kind of a cool idea. Not all of us are cut out for driving Priuses, carrying burlap sacks to the market or putting on a sweater in our cold living rooms.

If not, fine. Paying someone else to do the things you're not willing to may be incredibly bourgeois, but it is in fact good for the environment.
I could be snotty, but anything is an improvement at this stage. And should carbon neutral living ever really sweep the mainstream, there may actually be a chance of change.

Wrapping up with some cool ideas (or maybe just ideas) (and now that I think about it, I may need to change some of the slang I use in writing on this subject):

Panelists at a Brainstorm session on global warming had a few of their own.

Lawrence Bender, producer of Al Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth," told of the big corporation that is getting its truckers to turn off the air conditioning when they are idling.

Carol Browner, former administrator of the EPA, advocates national legislation to reduce carbon emissions that would replace a patchwork of local regulations that dog businesses around the country.

John Hickenlooper, the mayor of Denver, points out that tiny efforts, like educating people to keep the tires on their cars filled, will contribute to better gas mileage and lower emissions.

Fred Krupp, chief of Environmental Defense, wants to see a federal carbon cap along with a system that would allow companies to trade credits toward achieving that cap. (Sens. John McCain and Joe Lieberman have proposed such legislation that so far hasn't gone anywhere.)

This is an issue that is anything but neat and tidy; even people who call themselves environmentalists aren't in lockstep. Venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, for example, is a big proponent of forward-thinking ethanol technology. Lester Brown, a noted environmentalist, would far prefer to see the country focusing on wind power. They clashed in Aspen.

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