I just came back from a great two week trip to New York and Washington. It was my first time to that part of the world and I was keen to experience the true American culture, drinking beer out of large plastic cups, have a half smoked chili dog, going to a Yankees game and catching some of the US Open.
I was very keen to see firsthand if America was actually embracing sustainability and what action was been taken. Almost every add break on TV had some product stating a “green” or “greener” claim. A new BMW that was more fuel efficient was promoted as a “greener” car. Even the huge billboards in Times Square had a flashing Green Coke sign stating that the billboard was powered by wind generators.
All very positive signs but are we seeing any real progress? The US government is throwing a lot of money at the issue and I guess in terms of the political side of things we will have to wait and see what happens in December at Copenhagen. (Please note that this blog is by no means on a US bashing exercise or to say that the everyday Australian gets it as well. The purpose was to point out my observations while traveling to the US).
In walking around New York and taking in the sights and trying to figure out which way is uptown or downtown I did come across a NYPD Prius Car which really stood out amongst all the large cop cars. There were also a few hybrid taxis although I never managed to wave one down at least I know that they do exist.
On my return I was asked by a contact at Closed Loop
whom do some great work in Australia in terms of recycling at large events. I was immediately asked “I should have got you to take some photos of the bins at the US Open and Yankee Stadium as it is always good to know what they are doing” This caused me to think about the places and venues that I went to and unfortunately throughout my travels I think I only saw one recycling bin and that was at the apartment where we were staying. So in terms of recycling I am not sure that everything is going that well and in the mornings on the sidewalk you can see huge piles of rubbish bags waiting to be picked up outside restaurants and bars which were from what I could see for general waste.
My real “A Ha” moment wasn’t until we were delayed coming back at JFK Airport (Isn’t everyone delayed at JFK?). While my wife was trying to read the last chapter of Twilight in the bookstore I bought a copy of the September issue of the Harvard Business Review
with headline of “How Green Will Save Us” In this issue they put emphasis the fact that becoming more sustainable is not a burden but in fact a way of lowering your costs, increasing your revenues and why sustainability is now the key driver of innovation. Great stuff!.
I do however agree that both Australia and the US both have a long way to go but at least we have made a start in the right direction.