Monday, June 11, 2007

Green Casinos & Arenas

Both the P-G and the Trib ran 500 word articles today about Pittsburgh High Schoolers and their petition to Dan Onorato, Luke Ravenstahl, et al. to make the new arena and casino "Green." I'll sample from the P-G article, because it is the shorter of the two.

Local high school students presented a petition today to city and county officials asking them to ensure that the new Penguins arena and the planned North Shore casino are constructed as green buildings.

Students for a Greener Pittsburgh, a project started by two students, collected 700 signatures supporting the initiative requesting the facilities be LEED-certified.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
Terrific work there Mr. Pulitzer. There's an award in there somewhere for you. Glad to see that the P-G is cutting back on all that wasteful "electronic ink"; the cost of that stuff can run into the fractions of cents. I hope someone on staff puts at least as much work into tomorrow's follow up article as I'm putting in here.*

Now, I back when I was young and idealistic, before I was thrown to the ground of reality, beaten with the bat of rationality, and kicked in the groin of no-nonsensicalness, this petition would have been something that I would have done. I would have probably been the first person in line to sign something like this. Now that I am older and more bitter, I can see past the Pollyanna-ish naivete.

Don't get me wrong: I am full in support of Green Building, Sustainable Design, yadda-yadda-yadda, but the petition route smacks of political novices. No one listens to petitions any more than they listen to people yammer on at City Council.**

Instead, these students should be focusing not on the happy, squishy, "save-a-whale," sort-your-plastics-and-glass, green concept, but the cold, hard, dollar and cents "green" concept.

That's right kids: money. Petitions will get you nowhere; money opens doors.

Try showing Don Barden that, by improving his indoor air circulation, his employees will take fewer sick days, and, in the long run, he'll save money. Tell Mario and the SEA that by recycling "gray" water in the urinals and installing high efficiency fixtures, they'll save bundles on operations. Prove to Governor Rendell that the use of "Green" technologies in these projects will be a economic development niche for Western PA, strengthening the economy, and helping to generate exportable goods, services, and technologies. Stop frittering your life away on damned socially aware political science and go get yourself degrees in Environmental Engineering and Economics!***

So, take it from an old curmudgeon, kids: don't hit 'em in their hearts where it's soft, hit 'em in their wallets where it hurts.

Here endeth the Civics lesson for today.

* And that ain't much, I can tell you.
** City Council, by the way, is going to hell for the Iraq War, for some reason.
*** And get a hair cut! And stay off my damned lawn!

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