This week's blog is from Jeff Hix. Jeff lives in Atlanta and is very actve in the environmental community, including his involvement with the Dogwood Alliance. He is a rep for Indoff - environmentally responsible office and business products, more info about Jeff and Indoff can be found at: http://greenpages.indoff.com
As the events of this week celebrating the 39th anniversary of the first Earth Day wind to a close, the hope for all of us involved in the environmental movement (which is essentially every human being alive) is that environmental awareness and action isn’t something we do once a year, but something that is becoming a habit for all of us - every day, every month, and throughout the year.
Even though we can’t plan an event or organize a concert every day, the tiny actions that all of us take moment to moment, from refusing a plastic bag at the grocery store to taking the time and effort to recycle at our homes and offices, to making better choices about what we purchase, knowing how things are made and where they come from - all of these collective actions we take moment to moment are the true Earth Day celebrations.
With over 20 years’ experience in the business products industry, I’ve seen the focus on sustainability come and go and ebb and flow. Sadly, environmental awareness always seemed to surge to the forefront of buyer consciousness at times when other events in the news cycle waned. In the mid-80’s, I remember a resurgence of environmental awareness that gave way to the stock market crash of 1987, the late 90’s saw a renewal in focus and attention on environmental stewardship that again took a backseat as Y2K, the "dot bomb" debacle, and September 11th focused the country's attention in other directions.
The most encouraging thing about this year’s Earth Day and the resurgence of the green movement in the latter half of this decade is that it is happening everywhere across all economic sectors, and in the face of the worst recession the country has seen in decades. Where economic downturns in the past have typically shifted the focus away from environmental awareness and responsibility, the exact opposite is occurring now. Even as homes and businesses tighten their belts, cutting costs across the board, living more simply and frugally no longer means simply choosing the cheapest products. As I’ve cited in the past, conscious consumers are paying more (often an average of 15% more) for environmentally friendly products, which is sending a signal to producers and manufacturers that these are the products we truly want, which is bringing price points down and beginning to push ecologically unfriendly products off the shelves. And from the 10,000 foot level, a growing chorus of economic advisors from both the political left and right are calling for a greener approach -- using investment in clean energy and efficiency as a way to stimulate the economy. ‘Green collar’ jobs are popping up everywhere and a green path is opening up that will take us out of the red.
So let’s remember, even though this week we celebrated the 39th anniversary of Earth Day, it’s really the Earth’s 4 billionth birthday. We’re all butterflies flapping our wings in the desert, building storms that will reverberate across the globe for generations to come. Every day is Earth Day.