Sustainability: A look back at 2010 and ahead to 2011

For the planet, was 2010 the best of times or the worst of times? It’s hard to say, but last year probably says a lot more about where we are going than where we have been: 

We hate oil again…

BP’s massive disaster made plenty of folks rethink their relationship with oil. But lets face it: the love/hate meter will tip more heavily towards the hate category as gasoline heads towards $4 per gallon. Even for those who don’t worry about sovereign debt, the environment, or climate change, high mileage will again be cool.  

…and love trees.

The need for protecting forest was one of the few areas where most countries were broadly in agreement at the UN talks in Cancun. Brazil’s Amazon Fund has led to a the significant decline in deforestation, without sacrificing economic opportunity. Significant progress also made in other large forest ‘repositories’ such as Indonesia and Canada.  

Industry pushes an environmental agenda…

Procter & Gamble and Wal Mart have established scorecards for their vendors, Target pushed recycling stations for all stores, and just about every consumer facing company announced a green initiative — everything from sustainable seafood (Marriott) to reduced packaging for Winnie the Pooh (Disney).   

…but consumers remain skeptical.

Recent studies have shown large gaps between perception and reality for when it comes to sustainability action.  Some of the largest consumer brands such as Kraft and General Mills are significantly less green then they appear, sustainability data remains un-credible, and many corporate claims/targets for zero waste, climate neutral, and green are both long range and highly dubious.  

Voluntary efforts give way to mandatory programs…

While neither the UN nor the Senate made much progress in climate legislation, a host of mandatory environmental actions emerged, including a landmark emissions reduction and cap and trade law in California , new EPA automobile mileage requirements, municipal bans on plastic bags, FTC guidelines on eco-labelling, and looming EPA regulation

…but a backlash may be coming.

The recent election revealed growing skepticism in government, which too often fails to protect our interests. Not all environmental protections are easy or free, and as hidden environmental costs are replaced with government mandated real costs, expect to see skeptics receive more air time, and possibly even an anti-sustainability movement take shape.

How do you think 2010 shaped up? Take the poll below! 

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Photo: CC license  Some rights reserved by bbsc30

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jane richmond
jane richmond4 years ago

think before you act.

James Y.
James Y.4 years ago

We should think of the abundance of clean environment. And we should believe that there's a better world before us. We should also think that 2011 will have better environmental improvement. Most of all, we should ACT clean.

Kelly M.
Kelly R.4 years ago

People need to take more of an interest in taking care of our planet. We need to all do our part, and there's always room for improvement.

david weitendorf
david weitendorf4 years ago

We are not doing the damage to the planet. Carbon is not Bad it is Part of the natural life cycle and yes big industry and the government they are in bed with is causing the damage to the planet. Ya deindustrialize north America where we have Environmental Laws and send them to china where they have no Environmental Laws that is industries answer to the problem out of sight out of mind. We cant see but were not Blind!!!!!!!!!

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers4 years ago

Many people just do not accept their role in the damage we are doing to the planet.

Gina B.
Gina B.4 years ago

My friends are just beginning to get the idea, that I don't like receiving 'Paper' cards on holidays and bithdays, if you are on teh internet, why not sen e cards that are pretty, say exactly what you want, and can help causes, like this one

HELEN V.4 years ago

Look a those beautiful trees in the photo above the posting-- I wonder how many will be left at the rate we are going. Much Much more has to be done to protect the environment, and corporations are not doing enough for this issue no matter what they publicize.

Kris G.
Kris G.4 years ago

Let's hope we can do a better job this year than last.

Priscilla G.
Priscilla G.4 years ago

Yes slow progress has beenmade but we need more and faster if we are to save our planet for future generations.

Lovis A.
Lovis A.4 years ago

Keep after you politicians; No word SAYS WE DON'T CARE! We live in our environment, WE DON'T HAVE FREEDOM TO LIVE IN A TOXIC FREE ENVIRONMENT!
Climate Change began to occur in 1970!
We've got to KEEP GOING THROUGH HELL to get out of it!