With the 39th anniversary of Earth Day right around the corner (April 22), now’s a good time to take stock of how far we’ve come. While we hear a lot of complaints about greenwashing these days, the fact is, most companies are implementing far more green measures than they were even five years ago. Take a look at these four ventures and ask yourself, five years ago, who wouldathunk?
The Empire State Building
The Manhattan landmark, built in 1931, is about to undergo a $500 million retrofit, including $100 million for reducing energy use and curtailing carbon emissions, through features like better insulated windows, intelligent lighting, and Web-based systems tenants can use to measure their energy usage. The building’s owners, who crafted the plan with the help of the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Clinton Climate Initiative, expect the changes will reduce the building’s emissions by 105,000 metric tons per year (and save them $4.4 million in energy costs).
Last year, the sugar water manufacturer deployed 120 hybrid electric trucks to move its beverages across the country. This year, it’s ordering another 150. The truck manufacturer says the switch will increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions by 30 percent. (Via sustainablog)
Formula One is one of the top racing circuits in the world. Last year, organizers announced they would allow teams to boost power in their cars only if they used fuel-saving technologies. They’re hoping this will spur research-breakthroughs that could be applied in the wider automotive industry and result in cars for layfolks like us that spew fewer carbon emissions. Indeed, soon after the change was made, BMW announced they would build a hybrid racecar and put it on the track sometime this year.
Wall Street Journal
Not only does the bastion of free market capitalism now have a green-focused blog, “Environmental Capital” (granted, it covers the business aspects of the environmental and energy sectors), but, just the other day, they interviewed the new head of Greenpeace. The Wall Street Journal chatting up Greenpeace? Who wouldathunk?
So while we can squabble about whether some companies are doing as much as they could, the fact is that the needle is moving in the right direction. And that should give us lots to celebrate next Wednesday.