補充說明一下,這是The Arizona Republic 的系列報導.用沙漠州的角度來看,還的確蠻能有"教化"現代野蠻文明人的功用滴.

我是從本週(8/17/08)系列報導看,再上網看回去其他鼕鼕 ... 這裡大概有個特別報導(6/22/08) 的源由 ...

What are you willing to do? by Shaun McKinnon - Jun. 22, 2008

It's changing the way people live. And it's happening now, all across Arizona. Sustainability is a way of using earth's resources today in a way that protects them for the next genera-tion.

The movement is a movement of people, not governments, not authorities, though officials are starting to catch on, too. The people are doing things that use resources — building homes and businesses — while thinking about preserving those resources for the future.

This week, The Arizona Republic tells the stories of sustainability. This is how Arizonans are helping keep the air clean, keep the water flowing, keep the electricity on, keep the environment healthy for tomorrow. This is a tour of the state — from a power plant in Snowflake to a tour company in Sedona, from a rooftop garden in Scottsdale to a ranch in Apache Junction. This is also the story of a movement. This is how people everywhere are sustaining Arizona.

What are you willing to do?

On Nov. 29, 2006, Wal-Mart announced an audacious goal of selling 100 million energy-efficient lightbulbs in 2007.

The retailing giant would deviate from its low-cost playbook and fill shelves with a pricey, unfamiliar product that required detailed charts to explain.

Ten months later, Wal-Mart sold its 100 millionth compact fluorescent light.

Wal-Mart may have tapped into a pent-up hunger among Americans to do something about climate change and energy costs. The company also introduced millions of people to the concept of sustainability.

Sustainability is the growing edge of going green. Like the environmental movement of the past century, sustainability is about saving the planet. But while environmentalists often talked about not doing things — not cutting down trees, /not/ driving cars, /not/ building cities — sustainability means doing things to find a balance between people and the environment.

Sustainability is using the Earth's resources in a way that protects them for the next generation.

Divert water for fast-growing communities in a way that protects rivers and habitat. Generate electricity in a way that doesn't foul the air or scar the land. Build a city that won't overuse its resources.

Sustainability also asks people to take responsibility in their personal decisions. Buy coffee in a reusable mug. Take reusable shopping bags to the market. Replace a lightbulb.

From ideas like those, the sustainability movement has welled up from the grass roots instead of spreading top down through government policies or programs.

Some sustainable practices have turned up in city and county initiatives. Scottsdale led Arizona in writing green building standards. Maricopa County is trying to catch up with a broader blueprint. But at the state level, the Legislature has fought the governor on sustainability efforts and buried attempts to change laws.

Still, across Arizona, people are embracing the notion of sustainability and building it into their lives and work. The leading edge that is finding its way into the private sector, onto campuses and maybe among a few more elected officials.

The story of sustainability can be told through people from all walks of life, in rural and urban Arizona, in neighborhoods and in business circles.

They are homeowners in Peoria whose solar panels brought them independence from electric utilities. A group of women in Scottsdale who turned personal goals into a thriving business. An entrepreneur outside Snowflake who is turning the remains of a forest fire into clean energy. A man driving a tiny car in rush-hour traffic on the Superstition Freeway.

And a retired college professor at the Quarter Circle U Ranch near Apache Junction who decided to change the way he treated the land.

• Energy: If every house in America kept the curtains closed, the energy saved from the additional insulation would supply be as much as the entire energy use of Japan.

Seven miles off the main highway, in a wooden shed on the edge of a gentle arroyo, 30 golf-cart batteries absorb energy from jagged rows of solar panels. The panels, a motley collection plucked from systems built over three decades, power the ranch buildings, most of the equipment and the pumps that pull water from the springs that fill storage tanks.

Charles Backus pioneered solar-energy research at what is now Arizona State University Polytechnic, and he brought his know-how to the 132-old ranch, which he bought in 1977.

“Sustainability applies to everything we do,” said Backus, picking his way down the slope where dust-caked panels bake in the morning sun. “Land, water, energy, they're all intertwined."

Backus moves his cattle from one pasture to another frequently to let the land recover. He adopted humane branding methods that use liquid nitrogen instead of fire and iron. And he led a regional conversation about how to sustainably develop the thousands of acres of trust land that surround the ranch.

“That land could be a legacy,” he said. “It could show us how you make sustainable communities in a desert environment. It could be an example of how to do things right.” • Water: If every U.S. household used low-flow plumbing fixtures, it would save $6 billion worth of water.

Backus sees himself in the solutions of sustainability; he would have felt excluded from the old environmental movement, which accused ranchers and farmers of wasting resources and defacing the land.

The earliest environmentalists believed in sustainability, even if they didn't use the word. Aldo Leopold wrote about land health. Rachel Carson fought to protect people from toxic chemicals. Both would see the logic fit nicely in today's movement.

But the threads of sustainability were overshadowed by the rise of the more urgent environmental movement in the 1960s and 1970s.

Environmental groups and businesses came to see each other as enemies. Many of the advances in environmental protection occurred in courtrooms and in judges' orders.

That enmity drew sustainability disciples from the sidelines. Robert Gilman, considered a visionary of the sustainability movement, wrote about the idea in the 1970s. In a 1990 essay, he called on the movement to broaden its reach and encourage people to join.

Businesses started to see the value in sustainable practices. In 1994, strategist John Elkington pioneered the idea of a “triple bottom line” that assessed a company's performance based on economics, environmental practices and social responsibility.

“The old movement was basically an ‘alert' movement,” said ASU President Michael Crow, who has made sustainability the hallmark of his tenure. “Now we need solutions, definitive solutions other than ‘Don't do that.'.”

• Paper: If one in four office workers made all their copies double-sided, they would save enough paper in one year to make a stack thicker than the diameter of the Earth.

Diane Dearmore works from a small office near Oak Creek in Sedona, looking for green things for tourists to do. She runs the Institute of Ecotourism, a business started by the owner of the Los Abrigados 4 resort after he decided he wanted to bring sustainable practices to the property.

Part of Dearmore's challenge is satisfying the growing number of eco-minded visitors eager to experience the famous red-rock wonders.

“We have people here on a time share, and after they've done the jeep tour and walked through the shops, then what else is there?” she said.

“We give them other activities: – picking apples, working on bird habitat, removing invasive plant species if they want to do a little work. They develop an emotional attachment to a place.”

Dearmore worked as a financial analyst in the mortgage-banking industry for about 20 years before moving to Arizona in search of life change. She tried working as a massage therapist and then moved to Sedona, where she found the change she sought.

“It's an amazing thing,” she said. “People have started caring more. You start from the ground up, and you learn you are connected to everyone else. You realize the backyard fence isn't a boundary. People think the world ends there, but it doesn't. If they could see that, they could start to change their actions.”

• Products: If you recarpet 1,500 square feet with recycled-content carpet, you prevent the dumping of the equivalent of more than 8,000 two-liter bottles.

The grass-roots nature of sustainability married the old counterculture and a greening business landscape.

Enterprise played a different role among environmental groups of the 1970s. An eco-friendly business might have sold clothes of natural materials or home-grown vegetables, but the cautionary nature of the movement taught people to avoid harmful products.

Consumers now can choose from a vast array of items, an increasing number carrying their own green labels or the promise of safe ingredients. Not all of them qualify as sustainable or even eco-friendly.

Membership in networking groups like Green Drinks has grown exponentially, with chapters in Scottsdale, Phoenix and Tempe. A green business expo that just last year attracted a few hundred participants expects more than 10,000 this September at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Nationwide, Forbes magazine reported that green businesses now generate more than $265 million annually.

• Shopping: Buying a T-shirt and pair of jeans made of organic cotton eliminates at least 150 grams of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.
Reason for change

From a kitchen table in north Scottsdale, Tonya Ensign and five friends started emagineGreen, drawing on their own sustainable peccadilloes to stock the virtual shelves of a green-product business.

“I had a big problem with paper towels,” said Linda Sweeney, one of the founders. “I used a lot of them.”

Each of the women found their own reason for change. For Ensign, it was plastic water bottles. For Lexie Van Haren, it was grocery bags. From their own experiences, they sought replacement products: reusable bamboo towelettes. Aluminum water bottles. Cloth shopping bags that could be stored in a handbag.x

They sell the products at small gatherings, 21st Century Tupperware parties, and they have expanded into five states.

“At first I said, ‘I don't even have time to get the garbage out,' but when I started trying, I could see that it simplified my life,” Van Haren said. “The mission spoke to me, all these things simplifying your life.”

• Construction: If every new home built in the U.S. in a year were insulated with recycled insulation, the manufacturing energy saved could heat and cool 35,000 housing units for 17 years.

For Ensign, the tipping point that pushed her into business was an Oprah Winfrey show about green living. For bigger businesses, the impetus is as much cost savings as it is planet-saving. For the wider public, that tipping point may be saturation of the marketplace — Wal-Mart flooding stores with CFL bulbs — or something as basic as the cost of living.

As gasoline neared $4 a gallon in the past two months, interest in higher-mileage vehicles also spiked.

ASU's Crow put his university at the epicenter of the green revolution with the Global Institute of Sustainability. He directed the university's leaders to incorporate the principles across the campus, from the classroom to the research labs and to a potential global market.

“Phoenix can become the most sustainable city in the world,” Crow said, a statement that he admits draws out the skeptics, especially outside Arizona. But he sees the desert city as an ideal setting to master sustainability.

“Phoenix is still being built,” he said. “We have advantages related to the sun. We have water infrastructure. We can become a place for the birthing of technology for renewable energy, renewable materials, renewable building design. This is a chance for us to become a leader.”

The university has drawn worldwide attention for the sustainability school and for innovative research tools, such as the Decision Theatre, a multimedia space that lets participants immerse themselves in the information needed to make policy.

ASU's work is rare among public institutions, which have been slow to adapt to sustainability policies. Lawmakers face strong opposition from industry lobbyists, who fear such sweeping changes will drive costs higher.

And in some cases, they will, but sustainability asks people to balance the initial costs with the long-term benefits.

A CFL bulb costs several times the incandescent bulb it replaces, but swap out 100 million and it's like removing 700,000 cars from the road. Solar panels will set homeowners back tens of thousands of dollars, but their cost of electricity will never go up again.

“It takes time for an idea to gain traction,” said Mick Dalrymple, who helped found the Scottsdale building materials company a.k.a Green. “We're seeing a surge from underneath, and that collective voice will start having a bigger impact.”

The surge isn't far ahead of the problems the green movement aims to solve. Phoenix's air grows more polluted each year. Energy providers can't build power plants fast enough. Climate change already has affected the mountain/-snow/ runoff that supplies drinking water to much of Arizona.

“We used to talk about our grandkids when we talked about these things,” Dalrymple said. “Then it was our kids. Now it's not even that. It's us. It's us 20 years from now.”
  • 張貼: Jolan August 24, 2008 08:02AM
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