Friday, December 31, 2010

Green Resolutions for a Happy New Year

2010 was the best of times and the worst of times for green energy. Here are a few resolutions to help us make 2011 a Greener and Happier New Year.

Resolution #1: Keep The Faith

It is easy to get discouraged during a year when the media and Congress ignored an urgent warning from the National Academy of Sciences that Strong Evidence on Climate Change Underscores the Need for Actions to Reduce Emissions.

But do not despair. We did make progress this year. Walmart launched a Sustainability Index requiring 100,000 of its suppliers to disclose their energy and water consumption, carbon footprint, waste management practices, and what they are doing to become more green and sustainable. President Obama ordered federal agencies to reduce the federal government's carbon emissions by 28% by the year 2020. Both of these actions are having ripple effects as evidenced by Deloitte LLP acquiring three of the largest carbon consulting firms in the world. Deloitte, IBM, Accenture, McKinsey, and all the other consulting firms are building sustainability practices because their clients know that being profitable in the 21st century means finding ways to reduce waste and becoming more sustainable.

So resolve to keep the faith in 2011. We are making progress.

Resolution #2: Share the News

Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, and other low-key, professional newscasters have been replaced with jesters and snake-oil salesmen. Traditional media are desperately trying to get our attention because we no longer rely exclusively on them for news. Most of us get our news from many different sources including, most importantly, our social networks. Think about how many times you have found a story or a video because a friend sent it to you via email or posted it on your favorite social networking site.

That, my friends, is how we will continue to build upon the growing consensus in support of green and sustainable energy. When you see an interesting article / video / podcast on green energy or climate change or sustainable business practices, post it and share it with your friends. Some of them will share it with their friends. Sometimes it will even go viral.

So resolve to share the news. We can change the world by sharing.

Resolution #3: Think and Choose Green

Many of us have made greener choices when buying cars based on their fuel efficiency rating or when buying appliances based on their EnergyStar rating. This makes sense because a single decision will save energy, save money, and reduce environmental impacts for many years. There is another choice that we should be making and that has only become available in the past 5 years or so. That is choosing where our electricity comes from.

In many states, you have the right to tell your utility to get your electricity from green and sustainable sources. It does not cost any more than you pay now, and it often costs less to choose greener energy. I've done this for my own home. We now get greener energy for 12.4% less than we were paying before. You can click here to find out how you can choose greener energy at an affordable price for your home or business. It's free, it's easy, it will help the environment, and it could save you money. And it will increase the demand for sustainable energy.

So resolve to think and choose green whenever you can. We can make a difference.

Happy New Year!

John Howley
Woodbridge, New Jersey

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