On Friday, March 27, Aquinas College hosted the “Sustainable Enterprise Exchange Series” which focused on governmental action and green marketing strategies. This series consisted of a variety of speakers with experience in the field of sustainability. These individuals came from both positions in the government and industries across the nation. Attendees included both business and academic representatives desiring to learn more about sustainability and to share their knowledge. Aquinas was the perfect venue for this event; they have developed the first sustainable business degree in the nation. Additionally they are considered the small business model for a sustainability program.
The global economy has fallen into the current sustainability and economic crisis because of a number of factors which include: the ignoring of risk, a lack of understanding of the issues at hand, and finally postponed action. The federal government is trying to help the country recover from the issues with sustainability and the economic problems by implementing the stimulus package.
In the upcoming weeks, each of the states in the U.S. are set to receive approximately two hundred million dollars in the form of grants. At the conference, the governmental representatives recommended going to local legislatures instead of going to Washington to get this money. Time is ticking as this monetary aid will only be available for dispersion for roughly a year. Entities need to have their paperwork in order to receive the grants. In order for the sustainability package to have the desired effects these applications cannot be left to pile up on a desk.
“Project Independence” was America’s first attempt at sustainability; today, government still plays an important role in finding beneficial research projects. I hope this stimulus package will be the catalyst needed to initiate the growth and foster development of better energy technology. This battle for green energy faces obstacles unseen in other technology revolutions such as the tech-boom. The barriers that exist for the current green energy initiative did not exist for the technology boom; we are now fighting against an industry with entrenched interests opposing the advent of green technology. The governments reaction to the situation is the stimulus package, I believe the end product will be determined by individuals working together in the private sector. Technology in the end, will be the answer to sustainability.
One of the most poignant concepts from the event was “We need to stop eating strawberries in January”. As stated at the conference, the environmental impact of these delicious fruits in the winter is enormous. The obvious, immediate, impacts are the transportation costs from South America, and the pesticides needed to maintain the fruits ripeness. We have so much individual power by our purchasing… if we waited for the right season to eat our fruit, imagine the impact that could be created by working together.
We must avoid the trap of casting blame, and we must work together; the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts.