the County's "Earthwise" certification program:
Just the fact that bike shops promote bicycling is enough to call them "green."South Salem Cycleworks also won "Recycler of the Year" at the Green Awards in 2015, and you might recall a profile of Wolfe back in 2013, which also highlighted much of the greenery.
But South Salem Cycleworks gives new meaning to the term "earth-friendly business" with the dozens of ways it recycles, reuses, and reduces its environmental footprint.
The business has been Earthwise certified since 2014, although owner Michael Wolfe has been making the environment a priority since the shop opened in 1991.
|Northwest HUB "Green Service of the Year," 2016|
There's a substantial love for the bikes and those to provide and service them!
But the Salem Airport is also an Earthwise certified entity. And an airport ipso facto is profoundly harmful and not at all green.
You may remember a paper last year that argued climate scientists should cease air travel. Conferences are fun - but at what cost?
To meet international climate goals, aviation emissions must fall dramatically. Technological fixes won’t get us there — the bulk of the necessary cuts will need to come from a reduction in the number of flights.
|Greenhouse gas by sector|
via Oregon Global Warming Commission
|Earthwise sample preliminary assessment|
|East of Kuebler, the Mill Creek Corporate Center|
and Salem Renewable Energy and Techology Center
are remote from anything except the interstate.
|Greenwash - via|
There are almost certainly other full lifecycle factors that are elided or externalized in the way we assess and certify companies as "green." Reusing an old building, for example, is generally much greener than new LEED certified construction. (The conversation here and here about LEED, Passive House, and Minergie certification is interesting on the gaps in each.)
It is, of course, that old conundrum - Carrot or stick? Encouragement or enforcement? In late antiquity, and in a way that is really archetypal, it is Augustine's dispute with Pelagius, whether membership should be inclusive for everybody, including the biggest screw-ups who are encouraged to do better, or should be exclusive only for the perfect? (Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and all that.)
But as long as we treat businesses as boxes that can be plopped down anywhere and we limit our analysis of sustainability to the internal processes of things inside that box, focusing on "reduce, reuse, and recycle [things]," and don't look at the external processes and movements of things outside that box, we will be limited in our ability to model more accurately the structural changes that are necessary to real sustainability.
The bike businesses are not just quirky additions for local color and charm. They are actually modeling some of the deepest and most thorough-going expressions of sustainability we currently have.