On the ‘Green Level’... A civilized discussion
The parking industry is often referred to in discussions of the effects of environmental change, so it seems that we have the right to have an opinion on the subject.
When our company is asked what environmental effect our lights have on carbon emissions, we often equate it to X number of cars being taken off the road. It actually seems a little stupid to tell Parking Company A that if they use our lights, it will be like taking 50 cars (paying customers) off the road. I know it really doesn’t affect the number of cars in actuality, but it does seem like a silly analysis given the facts. Perhaps we should talk about the effect as X number of new trees planted.
We’re not the only ones to have opinions on the environment, of course. Why is it that every celebrity believes himself to be an authority? Could you imagine George Clooney saying:
“In ‘Gravity,’ I played the role of an astronaut, which means that I would have probably gone to Purdue University, which means that I should probably be pretty smart, so I can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that global warming is for real … I think.”
Silly, right? Here’s what he really said:
“If you have 99% of doctors who tell you ‘You are sick,’ and 1% that says, ‘You’re fine,’ you probably want to hang out with, check it up, with the 99. You know what I mean? The idea that we ignore that we are in some way involved in climate change is ridiculous. What’s the worst thing that happens? We clean up the Earth a little bit?”
I agree with him: Cleaning up the Earth is a good thing, no matter what you believe about climate change. The bottom line is, we should leave the world in at least the same shape as we got it, no worse, and preferably better.
YES, let’s start with common ground! Who can argue that his statement is not true? The way I say it is similar... This is me talking… and I am quoting me… “Whether Global Warming is true or not doesn’t really matter, the bottom line is, we should leave the world in at least the same shape as we got it, no worse or preferably, better. We should try to get our Security Deposit back!”
Don’t hug a tree, climate!
Let me say that I agree with Jeff: We should leave the world in better shape than we got it. At the same time, I disagree with George Clooney, when he says, "What's the worst that happens?”
Here’s the problem – we can do a lot of harm. Emerging countries where people are freezing and starving in the dark want to give their citizens a fighting chance. But if everyone from the UN on down fights them as they try to develop, there is plenty of harm.
Here at home, people who get hurt aren’t the gazillionaires like Clooney, but the working poor, who pay more for electricity, for gasoline, for food, for clothing. All because the Clooneys of the planet stop development, not just clean development, but all development.
They live in enclaves on the west side of LA, between San Francisco and San Jose, on the Upper East Side of New York, or in the counties around DC and Boston. They have no feel for what it costs to live, since they have tons of disposable income.
I’m with you on the concept that we must be good stewards of our planet and must clean up our environment. But a clean environment and a bustling economy must not be mutually exclusive. If all the effort put into stopping economic growth were put into clean water and electrification in emerging countries, how many more kids would grow up healthy, how many families would thrive?
When an idea, a crusade, a cause takes on a religious zeal, and dissenters are silenced, then one can be certain there is hubris. There are laws of unintended consequences. We double the price of gasoline, but offer no transportation alternatives. We stop building new housing, but offer no replacement, thus sending the cost of shelter sky-high. We halt the building of any type of energy facility (nuclear, natural gas, coal) and stop manufacturing in its tracks, costing millions of jobs.
When the people of India, China and Central Africa reach the point that every waking moment isn't spent searching for food, clothing, and shelter, and they have some time to enjoy their lives, they will begin to think about cleaner air, unpolluted water and white sandy beaches.
They will realize they don't need 15 children for the family to survive. They will, just as have Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, North America and Western Europe, begin to clean up their environment, too.
Environmental cleanliness must make economic sense, too. And it can. Just as Jeff creates light in parking garages using less electricity, buildings can be constructed so they use the space around them more effectively. Food can be grown less expensively, but the land preserved. Forests can be replaced, fuel can be produced without destroying the Earth, and power can be created without destroying the air. And it can be done economically, if we allow it.