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green@work : Magazine : Between Blue & Yellow : Jan/Feb 2002

Between Blue and Yellow
A Different Tune

by Karrie Laughlin

I was eating lunch at the Dick Clark Rock ‘n’ Roll restaurant in the Salt Lake City airport in December just as CNN was airing the Bin Laden “confession” complete with subtitles. This chilling episode was made all the more surreal as Bin Laden’s eerie, evil presence was backed up by The Supremes. The entire assembly of hungry travelers was left to read the unthinkable while the best of Motown played on.

Having lost my appetite, I pondered what other music might be more appropriate—maybe something like “Yesterday” by The Beatles? Or perhaps the old tune that begins “Try to remember the time in September when life was young and oh so mellow . . .” But having just left the Electric Transportation Industry Conference (ETIC), where I was inspired by the advances to which automakers are committed, those sad tunes would not do—my optimism was still high. As atrocious as September 11th was, and as hard as it is to fathom someone as morally bankrupt as Bin Laden inarguably is, I couldn’t help but think that it is wrong to allow melancholy to take over our collective countenance. I resolved to finish my salad and consider all the good things happening in America.

For example, President Bush recently signed Brownfield legislation that will help improve the use of blighted parts of our cities; he has also committed funds to further develop fuel cell technology. ETIC participants must surely be as encouraged by this legislation as we are by their pledge to continue to advance fuel efficiency and alternative fuels. I also am heartened by the astute observance offered by Gregg Pascal Zachary, a journalist with The Wall Street Journal, who spoke at the Business for Social Responsibility’s conference advocating the need for “hope” journalism—the need for the American press to find positive stories when reporting on sustainability. I took his message as affirmation of what we have been doing for two years and what we will continue to offer: hope, promise and examples of the pioneering spirit of American ingenuity.

As I ponder our progress, I consider the privilege of being a forum for delivering this good news. And I find myself humming a different tune: “I think to myself, what a wonderful world . . .”

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