It’s a Greening World: How We Got Where
We Are and Where We’re Headed
> “There is no business to be done on a dead planet.”
Remember the quip, “Everyone complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it”? Until recently, you might have said the same thing about the plight of our planet. Yes, there have long been many passionate advocates working tirelessly on behalf of the environment, but their efforts haven’t been actively embraced by most of the populace, and too often they’ve been hindered or thwarted by government and business interests. Opinion polls now show that most Americans agree with the goals and views of the environmental movement, but our actions suggest otherwise. There are now hundreds of books, periodicals, and Web sites with constructive tips on living in an Earth-friendly way— from simple things, like taking your own reusable bags to the store, to the more involved and expensive, such as installing solar panels on your house. Yet only about one-third of municipal waste gets recycled (in fact, according to www.container-recycling.org, beverage container recycling has decreased 30 percent since 1994), twothirds of rural Americans have no access to public transportation (www.apta.com), and only about 180,000 American homeowners live “off the grid” entirely.
Then suddenly in 2007, concern for environmental issues seemed to grow widespread and insistent. A 2007 poll by the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy found that the percentage of Americans who say global warming is a serious problem has grown from 70 to 84 percent since 2004. Three-quarters of respondents to a Washington Post poll on environment trends rated the