2007 According to Christine Lepisto: December 31, 2057


The other posts in this series can be found here. The first one with an explanation of what this is about is here.
Christine Lepisto, Berlin, Germany

December 31, 2057.

"Grandma, tell us again about the TreeHuggers and the Green Revolution..."

"Well, it all began back in 'Aught-7'. That was the year a weblog called TreeHugger reached the tipping point and I was lucky enough to be part of it. Conversation threads amongst committed activists spread into the mainstream (aided, of course, by the realities of global meltdown) and soon more and more people began checking out the site or radio and video podcasts. The six-word rallying cry filled the streets and soon you could hardly buy locally grown produce without hearing "How can I make a difference?" It was the year when humanity saw that it is in our own self-interest to work in the interest of global solutions."The TreeHuggers were interested in practical solutions. And humanity turned to TreeHugger to get answers to questions like: "Which is a better investment? Replacing my lights with the new LED lighting or setting up a pair of high efficiency solar panels? TreeHugger also kept people informed about the eco-horror stories. TreeHugger became the source to learn which priorities people could afford to set in their lives; and which priorities they could not afford to ignore.

"As more people joined the TreeHugger philosophy, they started asking questions TreeHugger could not answer, like: Where did this fruit come from and how was it grown? Does this computer monitor use more electricity than the other in my application? Was this cashmere harvested from sustainably farmed goats? Once people insisted that the sellers fulfill their duty to answer the consumers' questions, the tide was turned. Millions, no billions, of individual choices started to add up to one clear message: we need greener products.

"Of course, many historians pointed to Europe's ambitious REACH (for Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals) law, which came into effect in June of 2007. People were scared that REACH would devolve into a costly bureaucratic exercise that simply pushed production to countries with little control over risks to workers or the environment. But instead, it changed the entire paradigm for doing business. If a product used a harmful chemical when a less harmful substitute could have been found, a company might find their product banned, just as it was ready to hit the market! That took "green chemistry" out of the labs and into the boardrooms.

"It all came together at once: people's demands, technological leaps spurred on by extraordinary market conditions and laws, 180 degree re-orientation of the free market model to sustainability. CEOs everywhere wanted to know that the social benefits of their products outweighed the potential risks and satisfied the consumer demands for green design, so they could ensure the sustainability of their product--not in the distant future but in the next business cycle! And historians still ponder today: was TreeHugger a product of its time? Or was the Green Revolution a result of the global dialogue led by TreeHugger."