3.11.2008

THE GREEN IS ALWAYS GREENER

A nice report and presentation by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council on sustainable construction in Philadelphia: "Building Green: Overcoming Obstacles in Philadelphia." The event was attended by Mayor Nutter, who is committed to making Philly the greenest city in the world, and who to that end is setting up a cabinet-level sustainability czar to help lead the effort.

While Philadelphia's barriers (outdated code, ignorant politicians and developers) are well-known, as are its weaknesses (not nearly as much recycling or green building going on), it was good to hear we're doing good on locally produced food and on non-auto commutes. It was also good to see Councilman Kenney jazzed up about going green: when your local politicians are speaking excitedly about rubber sidewalks and green roofs, you know a trend has gone mainstream.

I also appreciated a new wrinkle to the multiple bottom line argument for going green, told from a regional competitiveness standpoint: in addition to saving the environment and saving energy costs, you have a generation of Millennials who make locational decisions based on deeply held values like sustainability and environmental stewardship. So mundane things like an airport that redoubles its effort to make recycling easier and a city government that wants to replace all of its light bulbs with compact fluorescents can actually make a difference in a young'un deciding to spend their 20's in Philadelphia versus Austin, Boston, or Seattle.

Here's a link to the report (warning: large PDF).
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