Monday, September 15, 2008

If Democrats Won't Green Their Events, Who Will?

Former Virginia Governor and current candidate for U.S. Senate Mark Warner held his "almost annual" pig roast at his farm in King George this weekend. You can read a full review over at

This note from Not Larry Sabato's Twitter feed caught my eye:
No recycling at Mark Warner Pig Roast.
Whenever I see Ben, the blogger who writes Not Larry Sabato, he never fails to rub it in The Green Miles' face that he has a smaller carbon footprint than I do. (I have to carpool to an office out in Reston two days a week while Ben doesn't even own a car. Although I wonder how many flights a year he takes? We may need to do a The Green Miles vs. Not Larry Sabato carbon weigh-in. Where was I?) Anyway, I'm not surprised Ben was watching out for a green faux pas.

I saw some half-hearted eco-efforts myself at the Arlington Democrats Chili Cookoff on Labor Day. There was recycling and several of the cooks prepared vegetarian chili or used locally-grown ingredients. But there were also plastic forks, styrofoam bowls and napkins and fliers not made out of recycled material. Eco-friendly alternatives are available at just about every grocery store in the DC area these days, so there's no excuse for not buying green.

Most hypocritical -- ice chests of bottled water. The Cookoff took place at the Lyon Park Community Center, which has a kitchen with running water. Democrats on the Arlington County Board have pledged to avoid bottled water whenever possible and county agencies have done a great job of following through. So why is bottled water unacceptable at county events, but made available at virtually every Arlington Democrats event?

I don't want to sound like a nattering nabob of negativism. National Democrats certainly broke new ground on holding a sustainable event with their extensive efforts to green the Democratic National Convention. And if we're going to pass legislation to slow climate change and make America more energy independent next year, it's Democrats like Mark Warner who are going to make it happen.

But here's the thing -- consumers don't change habits easily. They need to be shown that going green is both important and hassle-free (which is one of the reasons I started this here blog). Every time you bust out the bottled water, you're sending uncertain consumers a subtle message this all that green stuff is just a fad -- it's OK to fall back into those old habits at the first sign of possible inconvenience.

The bottom line is, if you're going to talk the talk on going green, you have to walk the walk. If Democrats won't take every reasonable step to green their events, who will?
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