The environment and going “green” has been the editorial focus of a slew of consumer publications from Time to Vanity Fair recently. I’ve had a constant reminder for several years, since my husband works for the Environmental Protection Agency.
Yet with the apparent growing threat of global warming and the unstable environment for the non-renewable energy resources to which the world is addicted, green seems to be shaping up as the symbolic and operable color of this millennium.
The science of climate change is complex and debatable, but it’s getting increasingly difficult to ignore the possibility that we, as a global society, just might have something to do with a rapid escalation in the melting of glaciers, the thinning of the Arctic ice cap, the rising acidity levels in world’s oceans and the destruction of the habitats of humans and non-humans alike.
In his essay, “The Moment of Truth,” which appears in the May 2006 issue of Vanity Fair, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore calls the “rapid accumulation of global-warming pollution in the Earth’s atmosphere” a dangerous “crisis.”
Now I know I probably lose credibility with many readers by quoting Gore, who some may view as only one step above a very low Hillary Clinton on the popularity scale. But bear with me.
For the bad news, Gore eloquently describes the danger; saying the very “survival of our civilization and the habitability of the Earth” is at stake; and details how the United States has recklessly ignored the warning signs that point to the doom of the planet’s climate system.
The good news, however, according to Gore, is that this “crisis” offers society an “unprecedented opportunity” when it finally decides to face the challenge of fighting global warming. Both jobs and profits will result from new systems and technologies created to increase energy efficiency, build clean engines, develop new sources of clean, renewable energy, and mitigate and turn around the damage that has already been done.
That’s where insurance comes in.
New industries and businesses, technologies and systems — that the smartest and most creative among us will surely imagine and develop — will need to be insured. As the insurance industry often points out, “nothing works without insurance.” That goes for the old and the new. The insurance industry could be at the forefront of the green revolution by providing insurance products that protect and encourage the creators and developers of these emerging business, technology and industrial models.
Global warming or not, it may be in all of our best interests to “be green.” It may not be easy, as Kermit the Frog said, but it certainly can’t hurt.