It seems that we are bombarded with information about "green" businesses and "green-washing" every week in the news media, but this last week's article in the St. Pete Times really caught my attention. The article led off with "Tampa Bay isn't exactly eco-friendly..." These sort of generalizations catch your attention, and even though I haven't really made my mind up about the "eco-friendliness" of Tampa Bay, I do get defensive when our area gets picked on.
I read the article and was surprised that the only real protagonist in this story was a friend and customer of ours - Nicole Kibert. In the article she discussed some of the green efforts of the Carlton Fields law firm where she works. I enjoyed that part of the article and am proud of what Nicole and her people have done. It's not easy changing people's thinking or habits, but the rest of the article seemed to hash some well-travelled ground about over-exposed large businesses. Wal-Mart's efforts to green - yeah yeah. Citigroup's changed the thermostat and then back - seriously?
I know it starts small, but waiting on the big guys to do the work will just show our unwillingness to change. You can get FLOR tiles at Target now, but they don't make it clear that they are even an eco-responsible choice. I'm not ready to believe that the only companies working on this have deep pockets and thousands of employees and I hope that the rest of the Bay feels this way. I see people making small steps - simple things, like the appearance of more recycling bins out on Friday. I really love it when people come in the shop and sustainability and FSC certified are not foreign terms to them.
I'm looking for the local green efforts and I am encouraged by small businesses who want to make a difference. Last week I went to Grassroots (our area's amazing vegetarian restaurant) and saw them making a grassroots effort on their own. They are researching eco-friendly take out containers for their growing business. This is no big corporate initiative, just a little group trying to start something big.
Let me know if you see more signs of the growing green-ness of Tampa Bay at firstname.lastname@example.org