by Rick Bunch
15 Wishes for a Sustainable Future: What the Erb Institute Wants for the Holidays:
1. Insist that companies create real social and environmental benefits in return for the privileges and protections of incorporation.
2. Implement the kind of broad public works smartgrid project and wind farm investment that Al Gore recently wrote about in the New York Times
3. Cap carbon
4. Green the financial bailout: home borrowers with energy- and transportation-efficient homes should receive better rates because have lower costs and are less likely to default.
5. Outlaw “vampires”: appliances that suck power even when turned off
6. Teach sustainability to every elementary, middle and high school student.
7. Participate – and promise to reduce emissions – at the next Kyoto
8. Source at least 20 percent of its food in school lunches from local farmers and suppliers
9. Provide stronger tax incentives for alternative energy start-ups
10. Offer tax rebates to taxpayers who install solar panels, buy hybrid cars and choose energy efficient appliances
11. Place a volt meter in every store that sells TVs, home theaters and other electronics so that customers can know their energy efficiency before they buy
12. Use public transportation – or better yet, walk
13. Enact a maximum wage policy so that companies’ top paid executives would earn no more than 15 times the salary of their lowest paid workers
14. For businesses: appoint a Chief Sustainability Officer
15. Make Earth Day a national holiday
“Our wish list is optimistic, but it’s also realistic,” said Erb Institute Managing Director Rick Bunch. “For a decade and a half, Erb Institute faculty, students and alumni have not only seen and studied, but also helped create and implement the kinds of changes that businesses are making to support ‘green’ growth. We may not see all of our wishes come true this season, but we look to the next 15 years with the confidence that tremendous progress has been and will continue to be made.”