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美国红色保守阵营的绿色环保领袖

Shelley Dubois 2011年08月03日

本文介绍的几位环保主义者或许并未四处宣扬他们的环保理念,但是,在传统的保守派各州,他们却为环保事业的务实发展铺平了道路。

生态石油城?

位置:德克萨斯州休斯顿

    表面看来,位于美国石油心脏的德州休斯顿似乎不太可能出现一场持续升温的环保运动。

    但是,当地确实有这么一股环保热潮,而劳拉•斯潘健便是这项运动的倡导者。去年,斯潘健辞去旧金山城市项目总监职位,转而效力于休斯顿市长安妮斯•帕克,现任休斯顿城市可持续发展办公室主任。

    尽管休斯顿的根基在于化石燃料,但是她说,当地人很乐意接受她的环保观点。目前,休斯顿大量的环保项目主要是致力于达到能源与环境设计先锋奖(Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)的标准(LEED是一项用来衡量建筑可持续性的奖项)。自从去年5月斯潘健上任以来,休斯顿新涌现了45座获得LEED认证的建筑。现在,休斯顿获得这一认证的建筑已经多达129座,高居全美第六位。

    在休斯顿,高层建筑鳞次栉比,更有许多新的建筑正拔地而起,因此绿色建筑是休斯顿生态运动的良好开端。绿色建筑可以使公司在招聘时颇具优势,斯潘健说:“这些公司都明白,年轻一代的员工更愿意在绿色建筑内工作。”

    当然,成本也是一个原因:能效建筑能够降低运营成本。斯潘健说:“在这里,最有说服力的理由就是,通过参与这些倡议计划,人们可以节省开支。休斯顿人喜欢省钱。”

    斯潘健表示,休斯顿亲共和党的背景使这里的环保工作更振奋人心。在旧金山和波特兰等城市,环保已不再是什么新闻话题,但休斯顿在实现快速绿色增长方面仍然大有可为。此外,石油之都的生态热潮格外鼓舞人心。

    斯潘健说:“我认为,如果能在休斯顿开展环保项目,那么在其他任何地方都可以做到。”

Eco-oil country?

Location: Houston, Texas

    It seems unlikely that there would be a growing green movement in Houston, Texas, the heart of American oil country.

    But there is one, and Laura Spanjian is leading it. Last year, Spanjian left her campaign to be San Francisco Supervisor to work for Houston's Mayor Annise Parker. Spanjian is now Houston's Sustainability Director.

    Despite the fact she works in a city built on fossil fuels, Spanjian says that locals are receptive to her ideas. So far, many of Houston's green efforts have focused on getting buildings to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, the standard measurement used to grade a building's sustainability. The city now has 129 LEED-certified buildings, the sixth largest amount in the country, and has added about 45 new ones since Spanjian's term began last May.

    Green buildings are a good starting point for Houston's eco-movement since the city is full of high-rises, and more are going up all the time. Building green can give companies an advantage when it comes to attracting employees, Spanjian says: "These companies understand that young professionals, in particular, really want to work in a sustainable building."

    And, of course, there's the bottom line to consider: energy-efficient buildings cost less to run, Spanjian says. "The message that works well here is that you can save money by doing lots of initiatives. Houstonians like to save money."

    The red-state setting only makes the work more exciting, says Spanjian. While environmental efforts are old news in cities like San Francisco and Portland, she thinks Houston has room for exponential green growth. Besides, there's something heartening about an eco-boom in a city built on oil.

    "I do think if you can do this work in Houston, then you can do it anywhere," Spanjian says.

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