Thursday, February 11, 2010

Green Valentines for Earth

In a few days it will be Valentines Day, a holiday of chocolate, love and cards. I woke this morning to find a very interesting video from Vote Solar, a California organization that is attempting to push the solar agenda for clean, renewable energy. This video was a Valentine to the environment. I have to admit it sort of got me in the holiday spirit.

It is interesting to look at the Silicon Valley, San Jose area California and compare it to where experts were believing the next Silicon revolution to happen; Austin, Texas. I had heard whispers and rumors of Austin becoming the next Silicon Valley as far back as 2001, but if the recent push for Austin and Texas as a whole to become the driving force behind a new Solar explosion comes to be, then it may leave San Jose in the dust. This is especially true since San Jose's Silicon Valley is "filled with uncertainty."

But back to Valentines Day. It seems like holidays are a great way to advance the green agenda. Just by slightly spinning the message of the season we are able to tweak it green. The movie Valentines Day is attempting to have a "green opening" though I doubt it will make it a better movie it is rather interesting how certain industries have begun to self enforce an unspoken "green law."

Major holidays and worldwide events are being utilized to advance environmental awareness. Even the Olympics are keeping to the sustainable track which is rather amazing. If you will recall, the most recent Olympics in China had the effect of forcing the Chinese government to take a serious look at the environment. At least the environment around Beijing. According to the Council on Foreign Relations;

What impact has the 2008 Olympics had on China's environmental policy?

As part of Beijing's bid to host the summer games, China promised a "green" Olympics. Since then, Beijing has witnessed some improvements, with air quality improving each year since 2001. From 1998 to 2007, Beijing spent $15.7 billion on environmental initiatives. According to the Chinese government, the city saw only 100 days with good air quality in 1998, while there were 241 such days in 2007. To cut down pollution, Beijing temporarily moved or shut down factories (AP), decided to take more than 1.5 million cars off the road during the Games, revamped its mass transit system, and built new wastewater treatment plants, among many other things.

An October 2007 report by the United Nations Environment Programme said China achieved many of its bid commitments (PDF). Another report by the NGO Greenpeace lists key achievements to improve Beijing's environmental standards before the Games, but says they need to be broadly applied to other cities (PDF) in China beyond 2008.

The fact remains that China's environmental record is continuously slipping. A "pollution census" recently found that China's environment is worse than ever. So what can we, as the international community do to help with China's and our own problems? Should the "green police" as seen in the recent super bowl adds be established and spread world wide? (By the way the Huffington Post had a great article on that recently).

I feel that we need to send our leaders; Local, State, National and even International a Valentine from the environment. We need to push renewable industry and demand a real change. We should give the environment "love coupons." For those who never did this for friends, family or loved ones, a "love coupon" book is a book filled with coupons redeemable for chores and favors like back rubs. We should each write one for the environment; 30 things that are redeemable at any time in the year that we can do to make the world a greener, safer place. Lists can be found everywhere but lets use the Holiday to motivate action.

Good luck and give the Earth a back rub for me.

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