¬†¬†¬†¬† There is good news and bad news.¬† First the bad.¬† With millions¬†of excited Americans heading to Washington next week to celebrate the Inauguration of President Obama, the impact on the planet of this historic event will not be trivial.¬†
¬†¬†¬†¬† The good news is that¬†Obama’s Inaugural team and other Inaugural event organizers are working to minimize the environmental impact.¬†¬†¬†Says Linda Douglass, spokesperson for the Presidential Inaugural Committee,¬†”We are¬†committed to making the Inauguration as environmentally friendly and as sustainable as possible.”¬†
¬†¬†¬†¬† And while there is a list of steps being taken to green the Inauguration, I must admit I was disappointed that the list¬†is not longer.¬†¬†Still, to make a public effort to green¬†an event that the whole world will be watching is a positive step, and perhaps a consciousness-raising one as well for us Americans and for people around the globe.
¬†¬†¬†¬† Below are some of the things the Obama team and others are doing to make the January 20 events¬† eco-friendly.¬† If I have missed any, I invite THE EARTH CONNECTION readers to fill in the blanks.
- The Presidential Inaugural Committee¬†is working with¬†a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency liaison¬†who is offering guidance to¬†the Committee on green practices.
- To minimize¬†congestion on city streets and to encourage local residents to reach Inaugural events in a non-polluting way, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (of which I once served as Acting Director) will offer valet bicycle¬†parking.¬† Riders may park their bikes at one of two sites relatively near the events.¬† Bikes will be watched;¬† riders need not bring locks for¬†them.¬† Riders will be given a commemorative ticket to reclaim their bikes.
- Offical¬†Inauguration invitations¬†were printed on recycled paper.
- Some of the floats in the parade¬†will be¬†recycled from previous Inaugural parades, including a 60-foot long, 24-foot tall American flag float built for Ronald Reagan’s Inaugural parade.
- Those attending any Inaugural event are encouraged to take public transportation or carpool, even if they are wearing evening gowns¬†or tuxedos.¬† People who must travel by car are encouraged to drive hybrid vehicles or to purchase carbon offsets.
- There will be at least two Green Inaugural Balls, one featuring Nobel Prize winner Al Gore.
- The bathrooms at the inaugural balls will have air dryers installed, and¬†no paper towels.¬† (In my mind,¬†the jury is still out when it comes to the impact of electric dryers versus paper towels).¬†
- Organizers of some of the balls are planning to use energy-efficient lighting.–April Moore