Green Industries---What do you think?

Green industries---what do you think?

  • Paradigm shift

    Votes: 7 43.8%
  • Flash in the pan

    Votes: 1 6.3%
  • Too soon to tell

    Votes: 7 43.8%
  • Other (Please elaborate)

    Votes: 1 6.3%

  • Total voters
    16
  • Poll closed .
Messages
103
Likes
0
Points
6
#1
Green industries---paradigm shift or flash in the pan?

I'm participating in a couple of things this week---one of which is a webcast you can tune in---(shameless plus at this link http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=11801) and I could use some help reflecting on the topic.

Portland has a lot of interesting activity in particular green building, renewable power, and organic foods stand out from my casual study. Such industries also fit with the image of this place people hold elsewhere---our values and our "brand." So, fostering this activity may be playing to the region's strength's in the marketplace.

But even here it seems to be the sort of thing that people either buy into or just don't. Any interesting experiences out there perhaps from the business development side or broader public policy approaches?
 
Messages
7,657
Likes
0
Points
28
#2
I voted "paradigm shift". But maybe that is just Diehard Optimism. Perhaps I merely HOPE we get a clue and quit destroying our world.

On the other hand, I am an environmental studies major. Environmental studies hasn't been around all that long, as a major. I don't think it existed when I was applying to colleges 21 years ago, at the age of 17. Most such degree programs grew out of existing geology or earth sciences programs. The program I am in grew out of an economics department. It has fewer courses in earth sciences in order to make room for economics, policy, law, and similar. I think it is pretty much the ideal program for me, since I want my Master's in Planning and Development Studies from USC. I first decided that I wanted my Master's in Planning. Only after that did I decide that I wanted a Bachelor's in some kind of environtmental studies program as a foundation. I felt strongly that I couldn't plan the built environment well and effectively without first undersanding the foundation upon which it is built -- and that happens to be the natural environment.

I think the fact that environmental studies programs do exist and seem to be spreading is a probably a good "leading indicator" for a paradigm shift.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,465
Likes
0
Points
29
#3
I voted "Other" because I think the definition of "Green" industry can be slippery and subject to "greenwashing." "Ignore the toxic clouds coming from our refinery because OUR emplyees planted some willow sapplings in the local creek and helped fund an organic farm."

Still, we are changing slowly, and I remain optimistic.
 
Messages
10,072
Likes
2
Points
33
#4
The things you think of as truly green - organic produce, sustainable timber harvesting, recycling of building products, etc. - are largely a niche market, although a growing one. Many of these products will be used more frequently or widely over time, as awareness grows and costs likely go down. I hope, for instance, to use bamboo flooring in a building I am rehabbing. The cost is not that much more than carpet, but it will wear much better over time, especially considering that these are rental apartments. I also think the nicer appearance will help to rent those units.

Within more typical industry, we are also seeing a move to greener products. Soy-based inks and recycled paper used in printing your newspaper are one example. Most machining proceses now recapture filter, and recycle oils used as lubricants. It is fair to say, though, that these businesses are generally not doing these things because they want to be good, but rather, because their customers demand it, the government requires it, or there are cost savings involved.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Messages
25,807
Likes
43
Points
46
#5
I voted too soon to tell. While I'm sure there will always be a certain percentage (lamentably small, though) of corporations with a conscience that will be involved with green industries because it is the 'right thing' to do, I am skeptical we will see much rapid expansion in this area until there is some serious market force driving change. If it enjoys wide appeal it will be because necessity requires it.

And yes, I'm with BKM on this one. There are some corporations who would like to cash in on being called 'green' for their token efforts......you say you only buy 'dolphin safe' tuna - how do you know its dolphin safe? Because its got a label on the can that says so?
 
Messages
4,896
Likes
0
Points
26
#6
Maister said:
..you say you only buy 'dolphin safe' tuna - how do you know its dolphin safe? Because its got a label on the can that says so?
...And just because it's 'dolphin safe' doesn't mean it is sustainably harvested tuna....
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,465
Likes
0
Points
29
#8
jresta said:
who are you kidding ;-)
I HAVE been accused of bitterness. I am now chanting a mantra every day and have resolved to stop visiting left-wing political sites where the latest perfidity of the neocon cabal is dissected in detail. Thus, I am being POSITIVE now. :)

(Yeah, right)
 
Messages
7,657
Likes
0
Points
28
#9
BKM said:
I HAVE been accused of bitterness. I am now chanting a mantra every day and have resolved to stop visiting left-wing political sites where the latest perfidity of the neocon cabal is dissected in detail. Thus, I am being POSITIVE now. :)

(Yeah, right)
[pure BS] We did finally meet for food and good conversation a few weeks ago. Maybe I contaminated him with my naivite' and Die Hard Optimism :) [/pure BS)

I am optimistic. But I really am not as naive as I get accused of being. I also just have a different frame of reference for my optimism than most folks I talk to about environmental stuff. I think that most folks have a view of the world that is too human-centered and rather egomaniacal. It is also ... just pessimistic, pure and simple.

One of the things that does worry me is nuclear power plants because radioactive materials have such long half lives. But there is a silver lining even there: the Savannah River Nuclear Plant in South Carolina owns a large tract of land. The only people allowed out there are the scientists who periodically check on the local flora and fauna and do studies of how the radiation is affecting things in the area. They sometimes bring back five-legged critters and folks who work there sort of have their own mini-zoo of Freak Animals. And the diversity of species in that area far outstrips that of any "preserve" in north america where land has been set aside specifically to protect nature. Most preserves allow for some human recreation. They just don't allow for development. Apparently, the gators and such find the radiation more tolerable than the presence of humans.

As for the Freak Animals: Solid research indicates that most frogs with 3 legs are not mutants. They are survivors of a predators attempt to eat them and they lost a limb in the process. Additionally, certain kinds of parasitic infections in tadpoles can cause frogs to sprout two limbs from one socket if the parasites are in the node where the limb sprout froms. They did studies and placed plastic beads in the same place in tadpoles and got the same result. So the Freak Zoo at the Savannah River Site is not conclusive evidence that this issues are caused by the radiation.

So, even one of the things that makes me feel Gloom and Doom has its silver lining.
 
Messages
500
Likes
0
Points
16
#10
I voted 'Paradigm Shift'.
The fact that environment is being given some importance is itself an optimistic step.
Yes! Most of it can be greenwash. For example many green industries/corporates call their products as 'Bio-Degradable'. But who's going to check that. Atleast not the ordinary consumer.

In a situation where there was absolutely no regard for 'green' in industries, now we have large campuses with green belts, efficient ETP's and more awareness.

The truth may be so bitter that it may not be digestable. Like coming to know that the air you have been breathing for the last two decades has been contaminated or the food that we have been eating has pesticide elements in them.( Im talking about the environmental aspect in general)

I admit that this only small step and theres so muchmore to do and people can be taken for a ride in the name of environment. But WTH, they(us included) were being taken for a ride anyway.

Now atleast there is a path to take.
 
Messages
1,038
Likes
0
Points
22
#11
I voted Paradigm Shift, too. It's trendy right now to buy green stuff and organic stuff, and the prices reflect that, but at some point it's going to become a necessity. We simply cannot support mass consumption without replacement. Things have been improving over the years, I think, as evidenced by how popular green stuff of all kinds is, and how much easier it is to find it. But--just how green is all that stuff? I'm cautiously optimistic that the organic and recylced start-ups of today will be examples for the conglorporations of tomorrow, but I'm not holding my breath (no matter how toxic the air is). :-\
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,472
Likes
0
Points
22
#12
Putting a happy face on consumerism isn't going to change much, i don't think, if for no other reason than there are just too many of us, regardless of how green our consumerism is. It's still an economy based on using things and throwing them away and buying more.
 
Messages
103
Likes
0
Points
6
#13
BKM said:
I voted "Other" because I think the definition of "Green" industry can be slippery and subject to "greenwashing." "Ignore the toxic clouds coming from our refinery because OUR emplyees planted some willow sapplings in the local creek and helped fund an organic farm."

Still, we are changing slowly, and I remain optimistic.

One of the interesting examples we heard of earlier in the series is the design for the new Jets stadium in NYC which includes windmills. The LEED certification, leading to various levels is based on a points system perhaps creating the opportunity for "low hanging" fruit at the lower levels of certification---changes that have envrionmental impact only on the margins but allow the building to be advertised as green. Fair critque or not I'm don't claim to know. But to paraphrase what others have said in this thread at least they're being pointed in the right direction.
 
Top