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The buzz…

December 11, 2009

I have never heard so much about Copenhagen in my entire life…

Of course, this is because the current climate conference is probably the most newsworthy thing happening right now. And I’m not complaining. There are so many levels, in terms of science, economics, globalism, etc, that pretty much any report I hear on NPR or read on the Internet is fascinating.

My concern is that climate change might be turning into a buzzword. But then, maybe that’s a good thing. But I don’t think a media furor can sustain the kind of action that needs to be taken to ameliorate the problem. I was reading a recent op-ed from the New York Times discussing the issue. The article brings up a concern that I have in regard to climate change: the economic factors at work. Positive change is hampered by “the inertia of the existing economic model, one based on hyperprofits and excessive consumption; political and business leaders’ failure to think long term; and concern that reducing carbon emissions will undercut economic growth.” And it’ll take a lot of work to undo this sort of static reasoning… Considering, for instance, the economic and political power that oil-producing countries worldwide wield.

Although, with recent media coverage, is there a kind of prestige capital that could be associated with positive changes in corporate America? From personal experience, I used to work for global, corporate giant Staples for a few years and saw exponential improvement in sustainability issues (recycling and composting initiatives, alternative fuel use, etc.), when “green” became a buzzword. But will it persist.

On another note: I hardly think that we can solve the problems of the world, quite literally, on a blog. But does it help? I’ve noticed that all my blog subjects came from Internet sources. Mostly from (don’t judge) Twitter. Do these immediate, yet immensely abbreviated, media sources help raise awareness or do they ultimately distract us constantly…

Ugh… Why do we have to worry about everything?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 12, 2009 10:59 pm

    Thanks for your post, Paul! I think you bring up a lot of really great points about how, and if, increasing coverage of climate change will translate into tangible action. I think you’re right in noting that as “green” became a buzzword, more companies felt pressure to incorporate, or at least nod to, sustainability issues in their business practices. (On a side note, I kind of feel like 2007 was the year the green movement really took off, at least in New York City, where I was living at the time — just before the economic crisis hit in 2008, as Dan’s recent post notes.) My immediate impulse is to think that with climate change–as with gangsta rap–any publicity is good publicity. The more public awareness of global warming is raised, the more likely it is that we’ll feel motivated to do something about it. However, it’s also true that many companies and businesses can just throw the label “green-friendly” on products and practices that are anything but. Perhaps it would be helpful if we had a set of requirements, standardized by the government, that commercial businesses would have to meet in order to use such labels. However, I also worry that standardizing the definition of “green-friendly” could close off the possibility of developing new sustainable practices. I’m sure there has already been a lot written on this concern; I’d be grateful to anyone who can point me in the right direction!

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