More than Green Words and PR Needed

In Governor Jon Huntsman’s State of the State address I was pleased to see at least 4 references to Utah’s environment and the need to clean it up.

“We must improve the air we breathe and capitalize on technology to ensure the long-term viability of our abundant natural resources, like coal, oil and natural gas, while developing renewable alternatives.”

These are powerful words influenced by some very smart people including good PR professionals. If these words are followed by effective action, I will applaud. While we are enjoying the prosperity frequently referenced in the Governor’s speech, it is this writer’s opinion that Utah must reassert environmental leadership. In winter 2007, the news reported Salt Lake City’s air as twice as bad as Los Angeles that week. Wow! That doesn’t sound like we are going the right direction fast enough.

Oregon and California are leading the pack of states making tough choices in favor of the environment. Will Utah lead or follow? Future tourism and attractiveness to businesses may depend on the answer to that public relations question.

Some key areas of progress required for these words to equal action:

Clean Coal Technology – we export 40% of Utah’s coal power and keep 100% of the pollution. (I will be watching this as Utah’s potential ‘conflict of interest’ with the environment.)

Alternative Energy – there is no silver bullet here. We need development of multiple sources. (Utah has a differential advantage in geothermal, solar, and wind resources.)

Mass Transit – we need to accelerate construction of and incentives for use of public transport.

Clean Tech Investment – we can lead the nation with our great entrepreneurs.

Recycling – we must do much more and government subsidies can jump start progress. (Watch for city by city praise or blacklisting based on performance in this area.)

Conservation – our spectacular resources, especially water must be managed and conserved. (Current water price subsidies help keep the public out of touch with this problem.)

No Greenwashing Allowed – changes must be sustainable and real. (This goes for individuals, companies, as well as governments.)

About the Author:

As founder of PilmerPR, John Pilmer, APR serves as a PR and marketing communications advisor for both emerging and established companies. He offers customers more than 20 years of results-driven business PR and marketing experience. John and the firm have provided PR consultation and campaigns for clients such as Mozy, Novell, AdvancedMD, Certiport, NextPage, ElectraTherm, Altiris, Avamar, EmergeCore Networks, FSLogic, INVISUS, 10x Marketing, MWI, Project Insight, REIC, Seastone, US Synthetic and Funding Universe (now Lendio), among others.

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