Red, White and Blue…and Green

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal explores the challenges faced by the organizers of this year’s Democratic National Convention. Their goal is to create “the most sustainable political convention in modern American history.” On top of a wide array of environmental considerations: from carbon neutrality to organic & local foods, trash cleanup and biodegradable balloons, are added the necessity of sourcing domestically manufactured, union made goods whenever possible. In the end, the shortcomings of our sustainability efforts and our domestic production capacity are clearly shown when trying to source giveaways:

The host committee for the Democratic National Convention wanted 15,000 fanny packs for volunteers. But they had to be made of organic cotton. By unionized labor. In the USA. Official merchandiser Bob DeMasse scoured the country. His weary conclusion: “That just doesn’t exist.”

Meanwhile, biodegradable balloons weren’t doing so hot in their biodegradability test and the wine sauce developed by the caterers was less than ideal when using local wine. At the end of the day, the convention will probably be as green as it can be, which is admirable, but it also underscores the need to build sustainability into our everyday personal and business practices. And whether we also try to, or are forced by fuel prices to slow or reverse some of the globalization of manufacturing is another question entirely. Suffice to say, it may be a long time until it’s easy to be red, white and blue and green.

dnc balloons

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