Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Obama and McCain on the Environment

It’s October 29, 2008. We are facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression AND we are just under a week away from what many are calling the most important United States Presidential election in their lifetimes (no matter what their age). To truly grasp what an historic moment we are currently living in would be impossible, so we’ll leave that to the real historians.

Today, I’d like to narrow the focus to something more palatable. Yes, we’ll continue to talk about the presidential candidates, but in relation to their views on the environment.

In so many ways, this election is very different from past elections. As it relates to the environment, we’re for the first time seeing two major party candidates who are both deeply concerned about protecting the environment. In the past, the environment hasn’t been given the same consideration. However, there are still some substantial differences between the two candidates’ approaches to the climate crisis. I found a good analysis of the different opinions from -

If you are still undecided, or simply looking to learn a little more about your favorite candidates’ position, this is a great resource to start with.  

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Price of Being Scared

For a few days over the last couple weeks, I was convinced the New York Times had shut down its offices and stopped updating its website. The same scary headline about the stock market’s dramatic decline coupled with a jagged graph showing a steep drop seemed to show up day after day. Of course, the Times didn’t close, but the market did continue to drop. 600 points here, 700 there, and you could literally see people’s retirement funds evaporating into nothing.

If you weren’t at least partially scared about the state of the world’s economy, my guess is you either have your entire life savings safely tucked away in a shoebox under your bed, or have decided to ride out the market fluctuations and try to ignore the daily trends.

From the enterprise perspective, there is a lot of fear about the prospect of spending money. The need to meet more stringent budget requirements has become increasingly commonplace. However, organizations that approach the issue as an opportunity are the ones that will likely be the most successful in the long run.  

While it may be challenging, the tightening of purse strings creates opportunities for researching new ways to save money. Coupled with companies’ recent attempts to become more environmentally-friendly, this need to better stretch budgets creates a perfect storm for getting companies excited about researching and ultimately using tools such as network energy management solutions that reduce energy costs and also curb harmful carbon emissions.

It’s a similar concept to gas prices. While no one enjoys paying over $4 a gallon at the pump, absurdly high prices do force consumers and car companies alike to put more effort into researching environmentally-friendly vehicles that cost substantially less to operate on a weekly basis.

The reality is, tough times make us carefully think about our options. To consider solutions that will serve our future generations well is a skill we haven’t always used in the past, but one we must increasingly use in the future.