Yes, I am optimistic about the environment. If you assume business is exerting the most negative influence on the environment and also has the possibility to impact it positively, there are a bunch of forces that are impacting business that are fundamentally different from the situation 3 or 4 years ago. There are pressures to be transparent that just didn't exist before and these pressures are coming from unlikely places, such as the insurance industry. In the most recent issue of The Ecologist, the editorial asked what is having the most positive impact on global warming. The answer is the insurance industry. Unlike the current administration, the insurance industry has made its mind up for reasons of self-preservation. For purely pragmatic reasons, they are increasing pressure on big business to reduce C02 emissions. In a similar way in Europe, the Association of Insurers has concluded that increased transparency is critical to understand the risk that an insurance company has in insuring a company. That pressure to provide that transparency in and of itself can cause change.
Source: The Green Guide: Interview with Jeffrey Hollender: http://www.thegreenguide.com/doc/102/hollender
Contributed by: ~C4Chaos