California “Green Index” Report released – Only Energy Can be Green?

I know I’ve been negligent in my China-Canada relationship posts – or any posts at all, but I received a copy of the California Green Innovation Index report from a colleague today, and after looking at it, I thought – geez, they only talk about energy and climate change in here.  Has the Colorado River started flowing regularly to the sea again?

This is a quote from the e-mail I wrote to him:

While I agree that energy and climate change are huge problems facing us today and in the long-term future, I find it narrow-minded that this “Green Index” only considers energy and climate change. Water use/groundwater contamination, toxic substances, urban sprawl/land conversion, desertification and habitat destruction/segmentation are still huge environmental issues that cannot be separated from the word “green.” Or has the Colorado River started consistently running to the sea again?

As the need to begin adapting to climate change (rather than trying to mitigate it) becomes more important, “green” is going to have to mean resource efficiency on a much broader scale than just energy. Who are the leading thinkers in California on “Green” Indicators, and why isn’t there more information about other environmental impacts of modern society?

Indeed, this drought and increasingly irregular rainfall in China has drawn attention to water as a central environmental issue in China. Are people thinking about these issues in California?

It is essential that researchers not just focus on energy and climate change, but also other indicators of sustainability when considering what “Green” means.  Addressing environmental issues from every side and in every dimension can only help to reduce total risk – in fact addressing water efficiency may well help us think much more clearly about climate change because water is something much closer to our personal lives.  Who knows?

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