Responsible capitalism? |

Responsible capitalism?

Don Rogers

Arch-rival Lowe’s already had committed in 2000 to phasing out the purchase of wood from endangered forests.

Home Depot did not come to this high-minded position on its own. Enviro groups nudged the company along with stunts such as taking over store intercoms and delivering sales pitches such as, “Attention shoppers! On aisle 7 you’ll find mahogany ripped from the heart of the Amazon,” according to the Journal.

The result was pressure from The Home Depot on its suppliers to do the right thing.

We see some of this evolution with North America’s ski resorts thinking a bit more green than in year’s past. Some wind power here, solar power there. Composting, maybe cutting a little less timber in expansions, funding lynx studies, recycling, and of course talking about all this in resort literature. It’s not nearly enough for the harder core enviro groups, who want no more expansions or home-building or humans mucking up the High Country. But there’s at the least a smidgen of recognition that customers are watching with interest. In short, there are signs of a market where the bottom line is not merely the bottom line, but something more thoughtful. This step is still very much nascent and certainly fragile in the gales of economic downturns. But there’s fertile soil here, make no mistake.

Global shifts

The journal Nature reports that some species of animals and plants have shifted their ranges up to 60 miles closer to the poles in recent decades. It’s part of that global warming “theory,” which is slipping fast into cold fact, if you’ll pardon the expression.

In geologic history, the Earth has weathered more abrupt swings from ice age to steamier times and back again. The question, of course, with this relative spike in temperature is how much we are responsible for the current trend, which certainly has seemed well timed to the fossil fuel age. Does it all stop when the oil runs out, or we learn better ways to combust our engines and motors and turbines and whathaveyou?

Do the polar ice caps really need to melt and set the coastal zones back? Who needs Haiti anyway? Maybe those ancient seas will fill in again. The New New West could then offer great beachfront, new territory for the real estate types who no longer can sell Vail’s snow. What does this mean for the lynx’s far southern range down here in sunny, hotter Colorado? D.R.

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