Thursday, September 13, 2007

Going green to save green

As I walk the streets of Pittsburgh a few interesting things spring to mind. Such as, why doesn't our bus system run on bio-diesel? Why don't our government building use solar panels? Why is our rivers still polluted enough to have water quality warnings?

Now I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a tree hugging hippie. I am more of a conservationist in the same ilk as Teddy Roosevelt. I am more interested in reintroducing the mountain lion and wolf packs back into the Appalachians than I am about crippling a business by feel good type restrictions that make it impossible to run a business and yet would yield little to no positive effect on the environment. But come on, there are plenty of things that we can do to make our corner of the globe a little better AND save us some scratch in the long run. For instance, with the price of oil reaching record levels a solution is needed lest our bus fares go to $10 a ride on the limited 3 bus lines PAT deems profitable enough to keep open. The time to invest and make a change is BEFORE the 11th hour, BEFORE we have no other choice. That way, we will be before the wave and the forward thinking will save the city and citizens money and we will be helping the environment.

Also, electricity is a dirty business. Not to say it's crooked per se, but it produces a high level of pollution. Plus, if we continue to rely on only one source of power we leave ourselves vulnerable to price gouging, terrorist attack, mechanical failure etc. You should always have backups and as of right now, unless you have a generator in your home, if the electricity goes out, you are sitting in the dark waiting for it to come back on. The city invest in a solution for this too. Fed Ex in Oakland, CA has installed solar panels on the roofs of its buildings and 80% of its power is generated by those panels. The best part is, when power is needed the most (during the summer with a/c's blasting) the sun is out the longest and produces the most amount of power. This saves Fed Ex countless dollars...why can't Pittsburgh follow suit. Saving money AND the environment in one fell swoop.

Like I said, as Mayor I want to save Joe and Jane Taxpayer as much money as I can in order to make their lives easier. Bio-diesel buses and solar power are two ideas to do just that, with the added bonus of helping to save the planet.