Complaining about government waste is almost a cliche. From the excessive use of Police ATVs patrolling our completely safe beaches, to the general inefficiency at all levels, governments seem to be avoiding the environmental crisis in their day to day operations. At very least, sustainability does not seem to be on their checklist of mandatory considerations before making most decisions. Everything from policy to the execution of initiatives often misses the mark on the dire need to transition our society to one that is in alignment with nature, rather than at odds with it.
While governments are supporting the development of renewable energy, public policy does not holistically factor in sustainable practices that yield real efficiencies in resource management and care. The result is vast amounts of unnecessary carbon compounding our environmental troubles and furthering resource depletion.
Building renewable energy sources takes years of research and development, but reducing inefficiencies in the operation of governmental entities can often be done in the short term. Or at least soon enough for the political value to reach voting constituents. In fact, many of these re-workings cost little to nothing in financial terms, and are predominantly about creative thinking. In light of growing energy costs and budget deficits, sustainable-minded policy decisions are crucial to curtailing the current crisis.
As a proponent of changing individual lifestyles to reduce environmental waste, I encourage sustainable living to more than just my close circle of friends and family. Lately, almost every social gathering I go to, be it a night in Hollywood or a family get together, my involvement in sustainability comes to be a topic of discussion. As part of this discussion, more often than not, people express their utter exhaustion with “green.”
Green is everywhere now, from billboards to TV shows. People are just bombarded with green this and green that, with each message telling them what to do or what not to do.
As Adam Werbach eloquently explained in his recent piece in AdvertisingAge.
“The marketing industry has leapt on green…Consumers are resisting the proliferation of ‘green’ communications and products being pushed at them from all directions. The recent Cone/Boston College survey showed that more than half of American consumers are “overwhelmed” by the tsunami of environment-related messaging. Less than half trust companies to tell them the truth about sustainable practices and products. Even fewer consumers believe companies are accurately communicating their environmental impact.”
People don’t like to be told what to do. Even more so, consumers are dissatisfied when a promised eco-friendly product or service is in actuality no better for the environment. Moreover, there is still a large sentiment that “going green” is a sacrifice and takes a lot of work and money to accomplish.
Taco Bell recently announced their plans to install new “Grill-To-Order” cooking machines in all of their locations. The company is making this step to not only reduce water and energy usage, but also improve cost efficiency. Each installation is estimated to save $5,900 a year in electricity cost per store. System-wide Taco Bell expects to save more than $17 million a year.
Taco Bell has released figures that their new system will save around 300 million gallons of water per year (the equivalent of supplying every household in Atlanta with water for a day) and roughly 200 million kWh of electricity (enough energy to power every household in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, DC and Dallas for one day). The new equipment will also save more than 1.2 million therms of gas each year.