The Democratic Party has boasted that its convention here will be "the most environmentally-sustainable" gathering in the party's history, complete with a director of sustainability, low-power lighting in some areas, and calculations of carbon footprints.
But reality doesn't always match expectations. Bikes aren't permitted inside the convention's security perimeter, so golf carts and other vehicles are used. The wooden card keys proved buggy, and some were replaced with more-reliable plastic. Fried mini-donuts were prominently on sale inside the Pepsi Center. Party VIPs and celebrities told their decidedly non-green town cars and GMC Yukon XL mega-SUVs--rented from limo provider A Class Above Transportation--to idle, with engines and air conditioning on, in the nearby pickup area. (What self-respecting conference-goer wants to climb into a GMC Yukon when it's a toasty 93 degrees in the shade?)
Plus, a gathering of tens of thousands of people (and perhaps 70,000 for Barack Obama's Thursday acceptance speech) generate a whopping amount of trash. Even if it's sorted, recycling Obama-Biden signs takes energy, as does trucking in what the Journal reported to be 900 volunteers to monitor waste cans and perform the trash-separation, thereby taking them away from tasks that might be more productive.
Let us stipulate that the Democratic Party, perhaps because it was good marketing or perhaps because it was a sound principle, made an effort to promote recycling here. But whopping huge mounds of trash remain unavoidable—and the presence of idling SUVs--show that the concept remains more of a slogan than reality. (Then again, probably the only way to hold a "green" convention is to do it entirely over the Internet.)
Monday, September 08, 2008
What is a "limousine liberal?" Someone who says, "Green for thee, but not for me." Example: last month's Democratic National Convention (CNET News, "Democrats find 'green' political convention tough to enforce," August 28, 2008):