Monday, April 07, 2008

Mr. Sustainability

This morning among other stalling tactics I have been practicing while I stubbornly resist finishing my now-overdue article for NextSpace, I scanned the interesting articles in the latest two print magazines to hit my desk: American Libraries and Governing. Both had cover stories on environmental topics, which was not surprising as Earth Day is in April, spring is finally coming, etc.

So after I mopped up the drool from all the great green library architecture featured this month, I flipped over to Governing, to see that Fayetteville, AR has hired a person to help them be greener in the city government. And the guy has become known as Mr. Sustainability. AND he's all of 30 years old. How cool is that?! Nice that he's gotten some recognition for his work, and I hope it inspires some of us to be greener in our workplaces, too. Do you turn your monitor off at night? Flip the lights out? Walk occasionally, instead of always riding the elevator?

It strikes me that libraries are part of a not-so-big, green lifestyle by implicit design: you don't need to own the book in order to read it, absorb its knowledge and share it with others.

May be we should start capitalizing on our built-in green-ness, in addition to our beautiful new LEED-certified buildings. Can you appoint a Mr. (or Ms.) Sustainability for your staff? Or maybe it's a rotating distinction, that different staff members (or a volunteer!) wears for a couple of weeks, notes behaviors, and then suggests easy changes.

If you have a cotton/canvas library bag available for sale, why not team up with local grocery stores and make you bag available for purchase at the grocery store check-out? Whole Foods is aiming to be plastic-bag free by Earth Day. If they can do it, so can your grocery.


Jen said...

last year there was a session on "Green computing" by the University of Guelph at the Ontario Libary Association's conference (their slides are online at: Certainly opened my eyes.

On the grocery note - seems to me most of the major grocery stores here in Canada already are selling their own bags, and I know the liguor stores here plan on going bag free come December.

Oh and my library gives our canvas totes away for free!

Alice said...

Cool! Canada is always ahead of the US for environmental activities, it seems. And how cool that you can give away your totes for free!

Patricia Martin said...

While there is nothing cooler than green right now, I think the more exciting trend you point to is young innovators arriving on the scene. Both articles you mention feature very young entrepreneurs with designs on filling gaps and solving problems. As a Boomer, I welcome these fresh faces. They may be green, meaning young, but that's part of what makes them so cool! Thanks for a great post.

Alice said...

You are so right, Patricia Martin. I was drawn to both articles because there were young people doing green things!
I did see yesterday that the first boomer (born one second after midnight in 1946) filed for social security. The silver tsunami begins?