Green is a cool color

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Salisbury’s designation as a “Cool City” pertains to the city’s environmental policies, not to its trendiness or ability to attract the eminently cool creative class. Nevertheless, the new label represents a pro-environment mindset that should indeed make Salisbury a cool place to live.
The award from the Sierra Club came during a confluence of conservation-minded efforts Monday night. Food Lion officials explained their Earth friendly policies, from using less electricity to recycling cardboard. Catawba College’s Center for the Environment kicked off an international meeting about hydrogen-powered rail service. And Salisbury received the Cool City Award. Salisbury-Rowan had plenty of reasons to be proud.
Global warming theories might be junk science in some corners, but they are well- accepted enough to convince many a Fortune 500 company to assess its carbon footprint and take action. After all, conserving gasoline, electricity and other resources is good for the bottom line as well as the atmosphere above. Food Lion has known that for a long time. Its green practices at the new customer support center take that awareness up a notch.
Government seems to be far behind industry in the environmental area, but Salisbury officials have sought out ways for several years to keep pace with the changing environmental scene. For example, city workers started pumping biodiesel fuel into their trucks three years ago; some even drive electric or hybrid vehicles.
The Cool Cities designation is more about what the city has committed to do in the future to fight global warming than what it has accomplished so far. It goes to cities whose mayors sign the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, which asks cities to commit to three things:
– Work toward a 7 percent reduction from 1990 greenhouse gas emissions levels by 2012.
– Reach that goal through such actions as anti-sprawl land-use policies, urban forest restoration and public information campaigns.
– Urge the U.S. Congress to pass bipartisan greenhouse gas reduction legislation, which would establish a national emission trading system.
Salisbury probably will do all that and more. When a concept wins the approval of City Hall ó administration and council ó it gets done. That’s pretty cool, too.