With the federal government seemingly completely stymied by the administration's lack of faith in science, and therefore lack of interest in environmental action (oh, yes, I did go there!) it is the cities, states and companies of the U.S. that are trying to step up to the plate.
Last November I visited New York City's first completely green-certified building (the new Hearst HQ) and wrote about it here. But there's more going on in NYC. Check out the Science Barge, currently docked in the Hudson River and an "environmental education center and potential model for sustainable urban agriculture."
The Science Barge is just one initiative of the many that are sure to follow in the wake of Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg's PlanNYC2030, a sweeping attempt to address New York City's "urban environment" and become a "model for cities in the 21st Century." Bloomberg and Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer are both getting kudos for taking action and supporting environmental policies and legislation.
The HSUS HumaneIndex lets you check out how 25 top urban areas are doing in their treatment of non-human animals. You can check out how cities are doing in a variety of categories, from how your Congressperson votes on animal-related issues, to how many vegetarian restaurants there are, to the ratio of bird watchers to bird hunters!!
San Francisco has the number one ranking. Although I must say as a resident of San Jose, CA...a city actually larger than San Francisco...I wonder what their criteria was for picking the cities to survey. And don't look to their site to easily give easy answers to your questions. You can tell they were going for super-cool modern-looking design, and in so doing they achieved pretty heinous lack of usability.
Speaking of California, Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has landed my own home-state in the courts by trying to set state-specific rules for industries that want to do business here. To the point where we're planning to sue the federal government. Some bloggers, like Fiona here, seem cautiously optimistic about Arnold's efforts, while Marcel represents the others who are notably more skeptical. Others still see his environmental urges as a weakness, like Laura and her miscellaneous musings.
Meanwhile, the last time Steve Jobs decided to "blog", he set off a firestorm over his comments around music and DRM. Within a brief period of time the first major record label agreed to sell music DRM-free on iTunes.
This time he focuses on A Greener Apple. He starts off by saying that Apple is doing better than people think, but also outlines their plans to improve their green-ness over time. What cataclysmic change will this blog post set off?
I don't know, but I do know Jobs is getting similar varied attention, from Jennifer from Inhabitat's kudos to Zac from Blogging Stocks's skeptical musings to posts that feature a little bit of both (like Megan from GreenOptions who seems to be saying, "sure it's great news, but it's also great P.R.") out in the blogosphere.
Green is apparently the new black, and everyone is trying to wear it. What do you think? Is this all we really need (well, that and love, of course) or are we letting the federal government, and all its branches, off too easy?