Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Another Overlooked Environmental Story of the Year: Normalization of Sustainability in Everyday Lives

As noted in an earlier post, I am utilizing the end of the year posts to highlight some of the overlooked environmental issues of the year--both good and bad.  Today, I am highlighting a good news development:  the normalization of sustainability in our everyday lives.

It was only in 2007 that the Toyota Prius went on sale.  At about the same time, Wal-Mart transformed the retail business by infusing sustainability within their products and business practices (notice the minimal packaging for most products you buy in most stores these days?---Thank Wal-Mark for making that happen).  

We also see buildings certified by the U.S. Green Building Council as the new standard for high quality buildings.  Even the Empire State Building underwent a green renovation recently (see video).  Wind farms have cropped up all over the United States and the EPA has an Office of Environmental Justice.  We are seeing more farmers markets, small sustainable farms, and more organic farming. Major grocery chains have connections with local farmers for meat, fruit, and vegetables.

We often don't notice the change that is happening around us because it happens at a slow pace.  But there is no doubt that we have made progress on sustainability related issues in our country over the last several years.  Do we have a way to go?  You bet.  But, we should pause, reflect, and celebrate the accomplishments.  Sustainability is becoming normalized in our everyday lives.


Rick Oches said...

What's also interesting is the normalization of sustainability in the business world. As summarized in a McKinsey&Company survey of business executives, "More companies are managing sustainability to improve processes, pursue growth, and add value to their companies rather than focusing on reputation alone." (

This is encouraging news, showing that companies are "getting it" - sustainability is about much more than green marketing and brand management. Businesses are increasingly experiencing the added value of sustainability planning and management.

Bob Brinkmann said...

Great addition to the discussion Rick!