“It’s not easy bein’ green,” intoned Kermit the Frog roughly three decades ago. How times have changed. Now it is very easy being green – so easy, in fact, that simple willingness to adorn oneself conspicuously in that blessed color is sufficient to qualify for all manner of government largesse. Direct grants, tax breaks and incentives, zoning exceptions – not to mention heaping mounds of praise and adulation from press and politicians alike.
Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with “being green.” I think people ought to recycle. It’s great that industry is figuring out ways to make all manner of things out of materials that biodegrade, and cars that go further on less fuel, and air conditioners, heaters and other appliances that consume less electricity. I like the concept of alternative energy, and hope (and expect) that one day the relentless march of progress will bring us to a point where non-fossil energy will be produced in sufficient abundance to satisfy our needs. I’m glad that the days of profligate industrial pollution are well behind us (in this country anyhow), and I recognize the indispensable role government enforcement played in bringing polluters to heel. I re-hang the my towels in the hotel, turn off the lights when I leave a room, and refrain from printing when an electronic copy will do. We should be environmentally responsible. Government policy should encourage that. That isn’t the argument.
What gets me is the fetishization of both the color and the concept. The way that especially in government the mere label “green” substitutes for and ultimately displaces all reasoned criticism or critical analysis.
If something – a company, a program, a proposal – can reasonably be called “green,” that’s it. No outlay of tax dollars can be deemed excessive, no level of waste unacceptable. Green. End of story. Let the money flow (it too is green).
A couple of things triggered this little ventilation. Of course there’s the Evergreen Solar debacle. The Globe’s editorial yesterday, a perfect example of the editors in supplemental Patrick press office mode, was a belly-laugher. Oh sure, the Globe allows, in its spectacular failure Evergreen is taking “as much as $40 million in state subsidies” down the toilet with it. But never mind that. “[T]he underlying goal of investing in renewable energy, and seeking to attract the right companies to make Massachusetts an energy-industry capital, is not only honorable but essential.”
“Honorable?” Really? Why not noble? Or even heroic?
I mean, I get it. The editors like the Patrick/Murray Administration’s green agenda, unmitigated failure though it has been. But honorable? C’mon. Belly laugh.
Then there’s this bit:
What gave the state’s investment in Evergreen Solar its air of futility wasn’t the folly of developing solar-energy technology in Massachusetts; it was the idea that little Massachusetts, with its handful of millions in economic-development resources, could compete against China by itself.
See? The problem isn’t that Patrick/Murray poured millions upon millions into a single company that never, ever, ever had a market for its products sufficient to give it any hope of surviving on its own. The problem is that too few millions were, to use government’s preferred term, “invested.”… READ THE REST at CriticalMASS