Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Post Profiles Arlington's Leading Green

In the wake of his Fresh AIRE proposal, the Washington Post profiles County Board Chair Paul Ferguson today. Arguably the best part of the article -- the attached photo, which in my limited experience with Paul's kids perfectly captures their energy and its contrast to their dad's laid-back style. As Paul was delivering his New Year's Day address, his boys were hovering over the compact fluorescent display in the lobby, their mere interest menacing its survival. Ah, to be young and maniacal.

I got to talk to Paul during last year's ACE Hike & Happy Hour, and I was struck by many of the same things the Post reporter was -- very unassuming guy, easy to talk to, never preachy.

The profile raises an interesting question for all environmentalists. What's the best way to advance green causes? Are you better off gently pushing on the macro level for slow, sustainable change as Paul has? Or is it more effective to attack wasteful habits on the micro level, even calling out friends & family who drive gas guzzlers or don't recycle?

I don't think the two are mutually exclusive, and fortunately it doesn't seem like Arlington County does either. It's working on both broad initiatives like Fresh AIRE, and trying to push individual apartment/condo complexes and businesses to recycle at the same high rate single-family homes currently recycle.


On a personal level, I'm both a member of ACE working to back Fresh AIRE, and willing to urge my friends & family to be more environmentally conscious. Just yesterday, a college friend told me she drove an SUV, but by the tone she used, you'd think she was telling me she'd accidentally flushed my winning lottery ticket. I don't wave my environmentalism in people's faces, but I guess if you know The Green Miles, you feel the guilt!
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