Environmental initiatives allow businesses to reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint. These initiatives can range from promoting carpooling to providing employees with transportation stipends.
The depletion of natural resources and global climate change have prompted many entrepreneurs to consider environmentally conscious business practices. Nevertheless, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) often struggle with these initiatives.
Hawaii is not only a beautiful vacation destination, but it also prioritizes environmental responsibility. This attitude is exemplified by the phrase malama aina, which means “loving and caring for the land.” It’s an attitude that’s not just about respecting nature but also taking care of it on both a spiritual and practical level. It’s a philosophy that extends to the community as well. Many locals are passionate about preserving the environment, and they band together to do so. Whether it’s cleaning up beaches, reforesting native trees and plants, or protecting marine life, Hawaiians work together to make sure their natural wonders are not damaged.
One of the most significant environmental achievements in Hawaii is the state’s transition to 100% renewable energy. The state’s goal is to reach this milestone by 2045, which will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and climate change impacts. The island is working on a variety of projects to make this happen, including installing solar panels in schools and public buildings and encouraging residents to switch to electric vehicles.
Tourism and hospitality industry organizations are also working with environmental nonprofits to educate visitors about how to be good stewards of the environment. This includes reducing waste, using recycled and biodegradable materials in hotel rooms, and offering sustainable food choices at restaurants. They are also advocating for a new way of thinking about tourism that is more sustainable.
In addition, Hawaii’s government and businesses are committed to sustainable practices. For example, the state has banned plastic bags, and businesses are encouraged to use reusable bags. The city of Honolulu has also adopted a sustainability and climate action plan and is promoting clean transportation, renewable energy, and local produce.
As a travel planner for environmentally conscious tourists, Megan Hardesty finds that the people of Hawaii are more passionate about the environment than those in other parts of the country. She has seen many of them devote their weekends and time off to volunteer for reef/beach clean-ups, reforestation projects, and marine mammal protection. She encourages travelers to embrace this ethic during their trip to Hawaii.
The environment is a big concern of many Iowa residents. The state’s booming agriculture sector has an impact, both on the environment and on the people who depend on it for their livelihoods. People have long had a close connection with their land, especially in rural America. That is a strong motivating factor behind many green initiatives in the state.
For example, small town Woodbine in northern Iowa began focusing on sustainability back in 2008 as one of two Pilot Green Communities. Since then, it has been a leader in its focus on sustainable construction materials, including eco-friendly roofing, insulation and building practices. In addition, the community supports local businesses and promotes energy incentives to help them stay green.
Water quality is another top concern for Iowa residents. The state’s lakes, streams and rivers suffer from pollution from nonpoint source sources like runoff, drainage of tiled farm fields, commercial fertilizer and manure run-off, and animal waste. These pollutants are carried into lakes, streams and rivers by rain or wind and can harm fish and humans who drink the water.
Iowa leaders are investing in clean water, but more needs to be done to keep the state’s waters pristine. For example, they are investing in watershed improvements to keep sediment and nutrients from washing into lakes and streams. They are also implementing best management practices on agricultural lands, such as the use of cover crops, bioreactors and wetlands to prevent excess nutrients from polluting waterways.
Business owners are also concerned about sustainability. Adam Hammes, the executive director of the Iowa Sustainable Business Forum, says he is seeing more interest in sustainability among Iowa companies. Some are focusing on recycling, reducing their carbon footprint and creating employee policies that support green efforts.
Schools are embracing sustainability as well. In fact, the University of Iowa Facilities Management is working to meet several sustainability targets as part of its 2030 vision. These include using renewable energy for the heating and cooling of its buildings, using recycled building materials and promoting green purchasing. In addition, the university is a member of Bee Campus USA and participates in conservation activities to protect pollinators.
In New York, green practices are becoming more common among businesses and homeowners. Some of these practices include incorporating energy efficient appliances and fixtures into home renovation projects, installing solar panels, and upgrading the insulation in buildings. Some communities even offer tax rebates for these improvements! Many people are also choosing to participate in community gardening and tree planting. This helps to reduce the carbon footprint of local residents and improve air quality.
New York City is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2024 and 80% by 2050. This will help prevent catastrophic climate change effects such as coastal flooding, erosion, and loss of habitat. In addition, the city is implementing green infrastructure through rain gardens and bioswales, porous pavement, urban creek daylighting, and landscape restoration of natural stream buffers.
The city has also instituted a series of laws and policies to promote green practices. For example, in 2008 former Mayor Bloomberg created a task force to review NYC’s codes and regulations and recommend changes that would make them more environmentally friendly. Additionally, the city has introduced an incentive program to encourage green building and energy efficiency.
Another important initiative in New York is the state’s goal to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). The state is working to achieve this goal by removing GHGs from the atmosphere through natural processes. For example, forests, wetlands, agricultural soils, and grasslands remove GHGs from the air and store them in their biomass. But these ecosystems are under pressure from development, reducing their ability to remove GHGs from the atmosphere.
In addition to this, the state is promoting sustainable agriculture by requiring large farms to keep records of their emissions. These records are then made available to the public so that citizens can know where their food comes from and how it is produced. New York is also encouraging residents to support local farmers by attending weekly Greenmarkets. This will not only cut down on emissions from transportation but also increase the availability of fresh, healthy foods.
The environment is a key issue for many Californians, who are most likely in the nation to view themselves as green and supportive of earth-friendly policies. Surveys indicate that most residents are interested in reducing their carbon footprint, and want to see government take action to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They also favor renewable energy, and the creation of desalination plants to provide fresh water. Locally, preserving open space and encouraging sustainable agriculture help reduce climate change impacts. Forests, parks and agricultural lands also serve as “carbon sinks” by storing greenhouse gases that would otherwise contribute to global warming.
Among the first states to embrace environmental protections, California’s early efforts helped trigger a national movement toward land and water conservation and public awareness of air pollution. Recognition that leaded gasoline produced urban smog prompted Californians to lobby for cleaner air. In 1967, a Republican governor established a state agency to pursue environmental goals and protect undeveloped areas. The agency later became the Environmental Protection Agency.
More recently, the state has shifted its emphasis to green initiatives that target the sources of greenhouse gases. These include the power industry, industrial facilities, transportation and agriculture. California is responsible for less than 1% of the nation’s total emissions. The Institute for Local Government’s Sustainability Best Practices Framework includes recommendations for reducing scope 1 and 2 emissions from government operations through strategies such as energy efficiency improvements, onsite renewable energy and energy management systems.
Local initiatives also target reducing greenhouse gas emissions from homes and buildings. For example, building codes require new construction to incorporate green features such as recycled materials and energy-efficient appliances. Nonprofit sustainability organization Build It Green works with builders to design environmentally friendly stand-alone and apartment homes. It also incentivizes green construction by offering $2,000 rebates on homes that meet certain energy and water requirements.
Californians are also concerned about the condition of the oceans and beaches, with majorities supporting wind and wave energy projects and desalination plants. They also oppose oil drilling and want to see more efforts to reduce plastics in the ocean and on beaches.