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Think Green: The Evolution


Get ready to ride the green wave. A green wave is sweeping the business world. The combination of real, pressing environmental problems and powerful stakeholders

NEAL LORENZI

Get ready to ride the green wave. ìA green wave is sweeping the business world. The combination of real, pressing environmental problems and powerful stakeholders who care about these issues makes for a tough one-two punch. Massive, market-shifting change is in the works.î Those were the words of Andrew Winston of Winston Eco-Strategies, keynote speaker at the 2007 National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association's Environment, Safety & Health Forum. And that was the topic of my October 2007 Editorial, ìThink Green: No Longer An Option.î

Make no mistake about it, in 2008 we are riding a green wave. The evidence is everywhere ó ranging from corporate mission statements and consumer advertising to the local grocery store handing out paper bags, instead of plastic. The concept of achieving environmental excellence (and saving the planet) has become part of our national consciousness.

Of course, this did not happen overnight. As Thomas Roach writes in this issue's Public Debate column: ìPublic opinion on the environment has been shifting slowly ever since Rachel Carson published ëSilent Springí in 1962. Today the environment is an international, national and local issue.î I would add that, for those of us who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s, environmental awareness is part of our DNA. During those years, ìbeing greenî was part of the youth culture's mind set.

Much of the popular music of that era clearly states concern over impending environmental destruction. Here is a sampling of just a few. Spirit recorded these songs in 1969: It's Nature's Way (of telling you something's wrong), Fresh Garbage (look beneath your lid this morning; see those things you didn't quite consume), Nothing to Hide (see what you've done to the rain and the sun; so many changes have all just begun to reap.). Meanwhile, Joni Mitchell sang, ìThey paved paradise and put up a parking lotÖYou don't know what you've got ëtil it's gone.î Marvin Gaye asked, ìWhere did all the blue skies go? Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east.î In 1970, Charles Reich wrote ìThe Greening of America,î a book that praised the counterculture and its back-to-the-earth values. This all seemed to culminate on Earth Day, the annual celebration that debuted in 1970 and is still going strong.

Today, ìbeing greenî is so acceptable that it's almost business as usual. For example, last year I purchased a dishwasher that, for some reason, will not totally dry cups, dishes and glasses. The manufacturer's reason: Environmental regulations no longer allow super-heating. Who am I to argue? We all want to do our part to save the planet. While the quest to be green is no longer a crusade, the ultimate goal is still worth pursuing.

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