The cover of Getting Green Done: Hard Truths from the Front Lines of the Sustainability Revolution by Auden Schendler got me with its work glove and tagline.
You can’t imagine my amazement when I opened it and learned the author was from the Aspen Skiing Company. I thought, “You’ve got to be kidding me, a skiing company, what could possibly be green about a skiing company?”
I decided to read it anyway and I am glad I did.
The book shares actual stories about green projects at Aspen Skiing Company. Some worked and some didn’t. Key points include:
- Climate change is happening. As Schendler says,”Business is both the cause and victim of environmental decline.” We need to change now.
- It’s smart to engage the people in the trenches who are experts at what they do, like Snowcat mechanics and resort managers.
- Essential to accomplishing green projects is understanding business owners have a business to run and must meet customer needs and make a profit.
- Energy efficiency and green building techniques have major environmental benefits and save/make money.
- Green projects require creativity, commitment, flexibility.
- Use whatever you can to promote your message and organization.
Aspen is known around the world. This is good for the sustainability movement. Schendler and others have access to media and influential people that most small towns would never have. This enables them to promote sustainability and green projects on a worldwide basis.
Aha…now the Aspen Skiing Company connection makes sense.
The Bottom Line
It was refreshing to read actual stories from the trenches and about what worked and didn’t work. Getting Green Done is a well-balanced book about an extremely complex and often emotional issue.
The writing style was easy to read and sometimes had me laughing out loud—this is the first time I’ve ever laughed while reading a book on sustainability.
I disagree with Schendler’s view that individual actions don’t make an impact and what we really need are businesses and governments to step to the plate. I believe we need everyone to take action.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in sustainability and the “real world.”
When did we become American Consumers instead of American Citizens? It irks me when I hear government officials or anyone else refer to me as an American Consumer (well not me specifically, us). Surely there is still more to being an American Citizen than just consuming stuff.
Citizen versus Consumer
I pulled out my trusty dictionary and looked up words related to citizen versus consumer.
- citizen – 1. a native or inhabitant of a town or city, 2. a native, inhabitant, or denizen of any place, 3. a member of a state or nation, who owes allegiance to it by birth or naturalization and is entitled to full civil rights
- citizenship – 1. the status or condition of a citizen, 2. the duties, rights, and privileges of this status, 3. a person’s conduct as a citizen
- civil rights – those rights guaranteed to the individual by the Constitution of the United States and other acts of Congress, esp., the right to vote, exemption from involuntary servitude, and equal treatment of all people with respect to the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property and to the protection of the law
- consume – 1. to destroy, as by fire; do away with, 2. to use up, to spend wastefully; squander, 3. to eat or drink up; devour, 4. to absorb completely; engross or obsess, 5. to buy for one’s personal needs
- consumer – a person or thing that consumes; opposed to producer
- consumerism – 1. the practice and policies of protecting the consumer by publicizing defective and unsafe products, misleading business practices, etc., 2. the consumption of goods and services, 3. the theory that a continual increase in the consumption of goods is sound economically
Earth does not Belong to the United States
Sure I took economics in school and I know about supply and demand, gross national product, profit margins, quarterly earnings, etc. I realize that purchasing stuff provides jobs. However, I do not believe that buying ever more stuff, some of which we do not need is helpful to us as individuals, families, communities, or as a country.
As American Citizens, we have the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” But not at the expense of others in our country and around the world. Earth does not belong to the United States. It is not ours to deplete and pollute at an ever-increasing rate as we consume more stuff we don’t need.
I want to become a better American and world citizen and not just a consumer. How about you?