It Isn't Easy Going Green

Getting Green Done cover

There are a lot of worthless (and nearly so) 'Green' books on the market. Drop by your local bookstore and browse the 'eco' section. It's amazing to see publishers continue to pump out pretty, but vague, books designed to latch on to the Green bandwagon. After trading emails with Auden Schendler, the author of 'Getting Green Done', I decided that I should read at least one more 'eco-book'. Now, I'm quite glad I did.

Moving any large company towards sustainability is a challenge and a luxury ski resort is no exception. Auden Schendler, VP of Sustainability at Aspen Skiing Company, has lived through the challenges of going green. 'Getting Green Done' collects Schendler's stories of the successes and failures of the environmental program at Aspen Snowmass ski resorts. He connects those stories into a practical approach towards corporate sustainability. What I found most interesting were the miss-steps and struggles in making sustainability projects work right. Put simply, it isn't easy going green.

Here are a few notes I took away from 'Getting Green Done'.

  • Ski areas are the canaries in the coal mine. Climate Change is visible now in the mountains and alpine environment.
  • Sustainability is hard, if it were easy everyone would have done it already.
  • Recycling is nice, but it won't save the world. Real sustainability requires really big changes in the way organizations (and governments) think and act.
  • Start with a sexy project. Efficient infrastructure isn't very sexy or visible and 'invisible' improvements are difficult to sell.
  • You need friends at the top and at the bottom of the corporate ladder. The CEO may sign off on a project but the maintenance department makes it happen.
  • Without a budget, even the best sustainability project won't happen.

If you are working to move your company/organization/community towards sustainability I recommend reading 'Getting Green Done'. You may gain new ideas on how to move a project forward, better understanding of your friends and foes, or at least a laugh of recognition. As well, you'll gain encouragement that not only is sustainability urgently needed, it is possible.

Here's to getting more green done in 2011!

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Auden Schendler, VP of Sustainability at Aspen Skiing Company

'It Isn't Easy Bein' Green'