Over the years, we
have seen a shift in the overall attitude toward sustainable business
practices and green living. We have seen a shift from consumption
to conservation when it comes to natural resources, and a move from
disregard to genuine concern in how we view the ecology of the planet.
This month, Dennis Walsh brings to light sustainable city
living in his cover story. In highlighting the necessity of large
cities to the economy and growth, he points out how urban areas
are doing their part to promote sustainability. In his piece, Walsh
names Denver and Seattle as two of the leaders in this movement.
Having been born and raised in one of the most atypical blue-collar
cities—Chicago—I was surprised to find that Mayor Daley
has instituted a program that has created more green roofs in Chicago
than any other cities combined.
By the same token, Canada’s Lakehead University recently embarked
on a $23.3-million project to optimize building and energy efficiency
and cultivate its overall social responsibility. In the end, Lakehead
decreased its deferred maintenance liability by more than $20 million.
This decrease was achieved through a reduction in electrical consumption
on existing buildings by a dramatic 23 percent, and a cut in gas
consumption by a stunning 43 percent. As the article on page 17
informs us, with its sleeping giant of deferred maintenance placated,
Lakehead will continue to make the effort to achieve a sustainable
On a slightly different note, in this issue’s “The New
Renaissance Man,” Tiffany Downey discusses the efforts of
not a government or organization—but one man—to make
an impact on the world in which he lives. Jason Olive, a one-time
top athlete at the University of Hawaii, turned to a career in the
arts before focusing his attention on social responsibility by founding
a charity to improve the lives of children through the sport of
volleyball. Additionally, he created the exercise-philosophy trend
Budokon with friend Cameron Shayne, who shared Olive’s vision
of making an impact in the lives of people everywhere.
“When people think of ‘changing the world,’ rarely
do they imagine the immense power they already possess to do so,”
Olive says. “Oftentimes, people believe that they must
first reach a position of power to become powerful. The irony is
that no one will ever be what they are not now already.”
Hearing words like these further my belief that the focus on green
business practices and green living is due in large part to how
children are educated and what they see everyday. After all, at
the risk of sounding cliché, I believe the children are our
Back in elementary school, we had a program titled CARE, Conservation
And Responsibility for Energy. There a seed was planted, but as
Wesely Bonafe points out in his article, “An ‘A’
for Efficiency,” today’s students are used to much more
than being told to turn off the lights. Bonafe details the ways
that schools have come to be leaders in energy efficiency. Not only
are they saving tax dollars, but they are fostering an attitude
in this generation that sustainability is a necessity. I am seeing
this firsthand, as my daughter sat down the other day with me following
up on a discussion she had in school about the Kyoto Treaty. She
talked of her classmates’ resentment over the fact that the
United States has yet to sign.
That, to me, speaks volumes about our future impact on the environment.