Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Greenest Generation

I know this dog. I don't know her name. I call her The Recycling Dog.

The Recycling Dog lives on my street, somewhere. The Recycling Dog is a German Shorthaired Pointer, I think. The Recycling Dog recycles, it’s awesome.

Every few days I see The Recycling Dog heading out for a walk. When I see The Recycling Dog returning from a walk, with a plastic bottle in her mouth, it’s a real prize.

I know it’s her natural instinct to retrieve but sometimes I imagine, if only for a second, that she knows what she’s doing. As she trots along, with a bottle in her mouth and her tail in full wag, I imagine her saying: “Hey, look at me. If I can do it, you can too.”

Traditionally, German Shorthaired Pointers are hunting dogs, they are bred to retrieve game. It's easy to understand how a dog with such a strong natural instinct adapts this instinct to focus on retrieving other things. Adapting her desire for retrieval fulfills an internal need and coincidentally, it helps the environment. It just happens that her desire involves retrieving the plastic bottles that litter the streets of Brookline and Allston.

When I see The Recycling Dog in action the one thing that stands out in my mind is the idea that adapting to a changing environment can be a win-win situation. More importantly, adapting the way we view energy efficiency can be a win-win situation too. The Green Movement isn’t an idea that we can afford to brush off as something only liberals or tree huggers support, not anymore. Reducing our dependence on oil will make our country stronger in the long run, not to mention reduce the transfer of our wealth to the Middle East.

Thomas Friedman, in his essay
The Power of Green, notes: “Being green, focusing the nation on greater energy efficiency and conservation, is actually the most tough-minded, geostrategic, pro-growth and patriotic thing we can do.”

As gas prices climb to all-time highs people are changing many things including the ways they commute. In an effort to offset transportation costs some people are deciding to
ride their bike to work. The benefits are twofold; it’s a win-win situation. The first benefit is the decreased carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and the second is a healthier lifestyle for the biker.

Driving less and biking more can make you live longer. Recycling makes the world more sustainable. Thinking green is patriotic. And, even retrieving bottles can be rewarding. What does this all mean? It means green is the new red, white and blue.

Look, I know everyone can’t ride their bike to work and I know that a dog isn’t going reverse global warming. But, as the world becomes
Hot, Flat, and Crowded we need to encourage new, renewable energy technologies not support backwards thinking ideas like a gas tax holiday. We need to renew the Clean Energy Tax Stimulus Act that is set to expire in December 2008, to stimulate investment in solar energy and the production of wind energy.

We need to adapt to a changing environment, just like The Recycling Dog, we need to start thinking differently. Once we set in motion these small changes we can become the change that we want to encourage. When future generations look back on this era they will judge us for how we responded to this crisis. I hope they judge us The Greenest Generation.


Casey said...

Awesome post!!! I've always wanted a dog, but now I know how I'll train it once I get it... the recycling dog will live on. :-)

Krystle - think Chai is interested?

Krystle said...

Chai does her part by picking up WHATEVER is lying on the road. She even shreds tree branches into mulch for our neighbors! I would refer her as Reusable Dog.

hannah said...

does leaving poop on the ground for gardening count? :)

i heard that the city of boston will start removing any bikes not chained to bike racks. i think it's interesting that while the city is attempting to encourage people to bike, they're penalizing people for doing so (there is a definite lack of bike racks around the city).

casey said...

Hannah, did you just admit to pooping in people's gardens?

In Amsterdam, they go around once a month and tag bikes. If they come back a month later and the bike is still there, they remove it... but that's different than what you're saying. There definitely IS a lack of bike racks around. Maybe we should start a petition...

hannah said...

casey!! only in the privacy of my backyard ;)