Houston, Yes Houston, Goes Green

How do you begin to turn the petrochemical capital of North America into a model of conservation? Ask Houston Mayor Annise Parker. Starting with the City of Houston's own energy consumption, she is making smart decisions that are having big conservation payoffs.

Here is a profile from onearth.


Parker’s immersion in the petrochemical industry, and her understanding of that industry’s existential relationship to her hometown, meant she also knew how slow Houstonians would likely be to tackle climate change for its own sake. So when the time came for the new mayor to speak up on the matter, she deftly borrowed from the local business patois of cost-cutting and efficiency. She energetically touted the need to curb the city’s greenhouse gas emissions but did so using the language of a CEO, citing “ancillary benefits” and “return on investment” rather than moral imperatives. “Messaging is critical,” she says when discussing how she chose to frame her argument initially. In Houston, she adds, “we talk about saving money, reducing energy costs, and conserving water. Sustainability? I assume the word has been poll-tested somewhere. But I don’t think people react to it the same way as they do to the word conservation. Conservation is something [Houstonians] understand.”

Full story here.