Green had a great run. But it’s dead. I look at the news, and I can just feel the conflicting currents.
Everything was gung ho for a while in the green movement. It had a great run from 2005 until 2008, and then it died. That’s right: the green movement died. It’s dead. Completely and utterly a carcass. It’s gone. Say bye bye.
What comes now is lean green. I have spoken with folks in the nutrition, organic food and cosmetic and natural home cleaning and organic homewares areas and sales are down everywhere. But a lot of companies are small, and it seems many small companies might survive whereas the large dinosaurs could go extinct.
These are folks who are buying the organic corn and cotton, who are buying the nontoxic cleaning supplies, the organic cheese enchiladas from Amy’s-or rather not buying. Whole Foods is having real difficulties. According to a news source, “Last month, for example, Whole Foods Market Inc. received a $425 million investment from Leonard Green & Partners L.P. in return for preferred shares representing about a 17 percent stake in the company.”
Even T. Boone Pickens has had to delay his wind turbine project manufacturing.
Some industries like solar are growing though, thanks to tax credits and unique financing problems pioneered by companies like Solar Systems.
Nonetheless, there is a real risk of apathy and complacency.
The country is prone to go into the Obama described “trance” as low oil prices make us think we’re back in the good old days. Consumers are going to be on auto pilot. They’re going to go to sleep. Already, they’re turning away from basics of what it means to be green: organic foods and cosmetics and personal care products, where it starts personally. They can’t afford organics. It’s simple. It isn’t in the budget. That will affect farmers and suppliers. It will be interesting to see the growth figures for the organics industry in 2008. It has probably grown globally.
Let’s put it to rest. What we did under Bush was keep the flame burning. The flame will burn but the green movement, as it was under Bush, is dead. It was the green movement of the moment of expectation. Now we’ve got the power and no excuses. Our resolve has to be put to the test.
Dedicated folks from all walks of life brought the environmental movement back from the brink of extinction to the point where eight years later the nation is poised to go green.
We haven’t done anything so far except keep the flame burning. China and the U.S. continue to emit more than half of all the greenhouse gas emissions globally. Until we are well on our way to 100 percent renewables we won’t begin to turn back the increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases.
Energy and global warming are the major issues that we have to address as a planet and as two great nations.
And we can only do this with environmental and technological policies and leadership that embody what it is to be green and patriotic. The President-elect has made an incredibly great choice when it comes to the Department of Energy by selecting Steve Chu who strongly advocates for renewables.
This is a new era and we must have the resolve now to deliver on our expectations.
Be sure to listen to David Steinman’s radio program here at Ecology Radio or at WebTalk Radio. To learn more about becoming a Green Patriot visit www.greenpatriot.us. You can also subscribe to this column via RSS.