4.05.2007

Let them eat green


There's a new ad campaign from Visa that dusts off a list of things to do while you're alive ... it's good old fashioned common folk stuff like having a glass of wine while on safari, owning a set of Frette linens, and riding a gondola under the Bridge of Sighs.

It also includes "volunteer to help save the environment." Undoubtedly, that afternoon affair will go down at a trendy little spot in Soho with great localvore foie gras and an excellent view of the self-healing icecaps.

As the countdown to Earth Day begins, the story that's beginning to form is that there's been a sea change (no pun intended) when it comes to the environment. That the world is awakening, and that the mighty greens are on the march.

Perhaps. But there's another significant change afoot. Green is becoming a passion of the wealthy.

The good news is that money drives markets, and when Teresa Heinz Kerry decides to install flow-through water heaters in all 173 houses ... cash registers ring. The bad news is that for another part of society, going green still only means a new paint job.

Two Americas can't pull this one off. Things like Vermont Technical Colleges's new Sustainable Design and Technology degree ... a program designed to create the next generation of green workers ... may not be as sexy as a filmmaking contest to win a free Lexus Hybrid, but they are just as important, if not more.

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