In search of the truth, Special Agents William Neal and Patrick Cuccaro explore the mysterious Green world of sustainable special events and catering. What myths will they shatter? What will they uncover?
The Truth is out there…so we’re told.
In Episode 18, your favorite investigators filled us in on eco-tourism and just how great of an economic and ecological impact it can have. In this week’s episode, our agents take the politicians to task over logic, the economy and yes, of course, the environment.
WILLIAM: These days, Patrick, it doesn’t seem to take much for me to get really annoyed with local politics. In fact, a series of local laws up before the Georgia House of Representatives and the Georgia Senate have flustered me to distraction.
PATRICK: What’s going on, Agent Neal? I think that our local state government has been doing a fairly good job these last few years, at least at the City of Atlanta level. We don’t seem to hear too much about others’ work, so things must be going famously, right?
WILLIAM: That is part of the problem, Agent C. You and millions of other folks have a perception that “no news is good news” when it comes to politics, but I am here to tell you that we all had better pay attention.
PATRICK: For example?
WILLIAM: Well, are you aware that many laws considered by the State House and Senate have a direct impact on our local environment and local economy?
Senate Bill 139 would ban local governments from regulating plastic bags in their community—neither a ban nor usage fee would be allowed. SB 139 passed the Senate by only a 4-vote margin earlier in the legislative session. It then passed the House Agriculture Committee and has been pending in Rules since then.
SB 139 is expected to be voted on by the Georgia House by this Friday, March 27. So there is only a small window of opportunity to call our State Representatives and urge them to vote “No” on this bill.
How disappointing is it that special interest groups in our state can manipulate the outcome of eco-legislation that can help protect our resources…and that our elected politicians at the state level allow it to happen? It is incredibly frustrating, and many of our duly elected officials should be eco-shamed.
PATRICK: Yes, this one in particular was a wakeup call. It felt a little like that “warm beer in July” kind of feeling when I heard about it. Yuk!
WILLIAM: What it really sounds like is that they need a “good spanking“! That is to say they need to hear our voices at the polls, in the messages we deliver to them and of course by the power of our purse!
PATRICK: That reminds me of something that has really stuck with me over the years. My father always taught me that, “The power we think a certain politician may have over us is minuscule compared to the collective powers we know we have over them when united in a cause. Best of all, they know it.”
WILLIAM: Agreed. We have seen examples of where a collective segment of the populous has made united decisions to consume organic or natural foods. Big business and therefore the politicians aligned with these business interests. They listened. A clear example of this is the McDonald’s franchisees’ recent move toward sustainable beef for use in their thousands of restaurants.
PATRICK: Great example.
WILLIAM: But here is something else that gets me concerned and makes me want to unite for change. Many political decisions these days from local, state and even national levels seem to be devoid of logic. I’m talking simple, basic, ethical, common-sense logic. Polluted water, polluted air and the logical relationship of these harmful situations to the health and economic hardships as a result are simply missed by modern era politicians. Worse yet, the logic is ignored, often because money is involved.
PATRICK: What other pieces of legislation are out there that might be considered to have a Green effect? Where can we learn more about what our elected officials are doing right OR doing wrong when it comes to the environment?
WILLIAM: One of our best resources is Environment Georgia, which is a citizen-based watchdog group that monitors ecological issues statewide. I have found them very fair and balanced in their approach, offering credit where credit is due, but also not pulling any punches when the need arises.
PATRICK: Once again, an example of people pulling together to be sure that Mother Earth gets treated well.
WILLIAM: Thankfully, many industries are environmentally responsible. Take for example the craft beer industry. As event-makers, we tend to have a special place in our hearts for businesses that supply our clients with products designed for food and beverage enjoyment. If you recall, we wrote about some of the local craft beer operators in EPISODE 6 and showed how they work toward ecological goals in their operations.
But unfortunately, a great piece of State legislation such as the Beer Jobs Bill – SB 63, which is designed to expand jobs AND to empower microbreweries to grow and prosper, has political detractors. It is disappointing that although the bill passed, it did so in typical “Gold Dome” political fashion: It was a “watered down version” of the original legislation, placating the major distributors. The fight continues on something that the majority of voters want, but we all have to wait. UPDATE: Beer Jobs Bill – SB 63
PATRICK: We have the power, through education and the voting booth, to make important changes.
WILLIAM: Yes, we have a responsibility to empower our readers with information that will make them first curious, second informed, third motivated and fourth to take action. The power of calling or writing to our politicians and making our voices heard should not be underestimated.
PATRICK: How true. Action from an informed voter is better than a good spanking for the politicians!
WILLIAM: Nothing like a good “whack” at the ballot box to get their attention!
To be continued…
Are you helping to shape your local environment at the polls? Please share with us in the comments section below how you stay up on environmental issues. When hiring a caterer for a special event, do you always ask about their sustainability practices?
Join us next week when your Agents investigate a growing industry: Green Homes. William and Patrick will look at how the new industry of Green home inspections, alternative residential energy sources and how our culture of home design is evolving.
This week’s 3Rs…
REVERED: Congressman Hank Johnson
REVILED: Acid Rain