Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Going mean and green

The green wave continues to pound mainstream America.

NBC’s The Today Show opened with anchors at both poles and the equator this morning to kick off that network’s “Green Week.” Sportscaster Bob Costas, of all people, mentioned the network’s effort to focus attention on global warming during the Sunday Night Football broadcast that was done partially in the dark to save electricity powering the studio.

And so the widespread corporate manipulation of “greening” begins, leaving Americans to separate for themselves the difference between symbolic fluff like painting the NBC Peacock’s logo green and substantive changes meant to lead an environmental revolution.

Of course, there are real benefits for any company to make changes aimed at reducing use of power through electricity or other sources. Wal-Mart has publicized its efforts to become fuel efficient, which gives them green street cred and will save them millions in fuel and other costs.

Many local and state governments are taking environmental initiatives very seriously, enacting strict idling limits (3 to 5 minutes seems to be the norm in many East Coast and West Coast cities and states) and even considering things like a tax on carbon.

Denver’s City Council recently approved an initiative to limit truck idling, and investigate carbon taxes.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger himself has taken on a role of representing the U.S. abroad when it comes to environmental initiatives, presumably carrying the stick of California’s perceived leadership role in green efforts.

“Just because you don't see Washington leading this issue, don't be thinking that America is shirking its responsibilities,” Schwarzenegger told a crowd in Lisbon in late October, according to AFP News.

Land Line has heard from many drivers concerned by increases in regulations by states like California. They’re not picking a fight with global warming, nor with the politics that produce a Nobel Peace Prize for Al Gore just one decade after Yasser Arafat won the prize.

Truck drivers want clean air as much as anyone, and as OOIDA Member Charles Brodie told me in an e-mail, “if it’s true that one in five young L.A. school kids suffer from asthma and carry an inhaler, perhaps we should be talking about driver health also.”

The green fad will come and go – at least the fad that includes green logos and feel-good commercials from oil companies. But as NBC and others urge us to use CFL light bulbs and buy fuel-efficient cars, I hope we’re taking real steps to cut wasteful emissions and not merely seeing the latest round of “Must-See TV.”