Green and sustainable thinking and action is not dead.
I constantly get asked about global warming or climate change. Honestly, I do not think about it much. Other than to recognize that science is telling us facts like glaciers are melting, and an appropriate response is necessary, I do not focus on the causal aspects, but I do try and make good personal decisions.
A green friend of mine recently framed this thinking best by drawing an analogy that thinking and behaviors should really be “Old School,” of a pre-WWII, Depression era. We were discussing an upcoming column trying to give some solutions to time-starved moms on how to do green lunches for the kids. She shared the story of how our generation went to school, with a cool lunch pale, Thermos and a little Tupperware thrown in – old school. Then moms may have sought convenience, as they moved from wax paper solutions to Zip Lock bags, from zero waste, to the waste creation of disposable convenience.
Another example that shapes my thinking is the Sun Chips compostable bag. It will be changed, and I know why. I was headed for a late night snack slightly past my kid’s bedtime. I opened the cupboard door, and grabbed the bag. Every crinkle of the bag brought ear-popping noise pollution disturbing the peace of my home and making leaf-blower sound levels seem like a Sinatra croon. I was in the grocery store, hiding from Mr. Whipple of old, except my “Don’t squeeze the Charmin” was an impromptu experiment in the snack aisle. Yup, that compostable bag was significantly louder than traditional bags. And, to be super technical, there is a giant difference between compostable and biodegradable.
But can you really call out the Fat Lady and declare green is dead because of example like Sun Chips?
Remember the first space ship? Or the first cell towers?
I predict in 10 years the Bayside solar that some deem blight will be removed and a next generation technology that delivers both energy generation and aesthetics will be installed by the indulgent green owner. Point is that these endeavors will not cease, but will evolve. Sun Chips will keep trying, or perhaps the next innovation of the snack bag comes from a local startup company.
If you let the “told you green was a fad” folks prevail in thinking, then Newport Beach will lose momentum on important green and sustainable initiatives like working with eight surrounding cities, with well over 100 square miles of influence, on the Back Bay water quality and the vibrant marine economy. Over time, the community has demonstrated green and sustainable efforts and energy can result in improved water quality.
Green and sustainable thinking is alive and well in our community. I am reading about the eel grass in the harbor. About the environmental benefits, the hardship for dock owners and the resistance of regulators to a solution. I know there is a green solution available to allow our fish and residents to peacefully coexist. Both species are resilient creatures.
I bumped into a buddy with his lady friend, two vibrant old schoolers, avid readers of our NB Indy, stopping for coffee and conversation. He remembered the times when a trip home from school as a boy in Los Angeles resulted in burning lungs. The conversation validated that this green thing has been going on for generations and there are significant success stories to point to.
I appreciated the energy to unstick my writers block, and came away seeking a reasonable shade of green – maybe emerald, not neon green – as green efforts need to make sense en masse.
It got me thinking about my childhood, where every present opened with excitement was preceded by words of “careful with that wrapping paper, we have to reuse it you know.” Gramma ReUsed. I dare you to measure your waste Christmas Day, and to notice the packaging.
What about China? Do they really need the waste and pollution associated with our Industrial Revolution to achieve economic prosperity for a nation?
The Great Recession has had a dramatic impact on construction waste driving landfill numbers down 40 percent. We just need quality choices as the market returns to rebuild a mid-century environment.
So, think Old School, my green friends. Think about the behaviors and choices of our parents. You know food does not come from a Ralphs bush, but do our kids?
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