Saturday, December 29, 2007

Motivating People to go Green

In more inspirational news, many cities are offering financial incentives for their citizens to "go green. Low flow toilets, low-flow shower heads, more efficient lighting, hybrid cars, less environmentally demanding lawns, and of course installing solar panels on one's home could all earn you some cash, depending on where you live.

I applaud the politicians of those cities for these efforts, and ask them to do more. Telecommuting is far more technologically possible than one might glean from observing businesses. There should be incentives to have more employees telecommute. Those that can't ought to be encouraged to car pool, and highway expansions ought to be a much higher percentage of HOV lanes. What a statement about our society and traveling habits that in America, "high occupancy" means "more than one person". Get rid of those concrete barriers that prevent shoppers from driving between store parking lots and force them to drive halfway around the block. Up the ante on the requirements on drive-thrus.

Of course there is a ton we can all do to be more green with our lives, and much of it doesn't cost us anything but a little effort and awareness? When did it become necessary in America for everything to be triple packaged? I buy an item on Amazon and it shows up in a sealed box in a sealed box. Stop that crap. We buy a bag of bread on put it in a bag. We drive to the mailbox. We take an item that is free, water, and package it in plastic bottles we use up by the millions each year. We have disposable cameras.

Government can only do so much with an issue like this. In the end, real change will only come with a change in the culture. When climbing mountains in remote areas of the US, there is a culture of preservation among climbers. "Pack it in, pack it out" is the standard, and most keep it, to the benefit of all. We don't need litter cops out there enforcing the rules. We like the results, that is enough motivation. Humanity needs a similar attitude about the planet, and the need becomes more acute as more and more of us come to be.

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