Ah CNN. How you have teased us with great green reporting over the years, only to pull back like an overly cautious poker player whenever the stakes get raised. Your founder, Prius-driving, straight-talking, buffalo-owning Ted Turner, once dazzled with his commitment to bringing quality environmental news and commentary to a wide audience, but the legacy he left has been mixed.
Although Turner recently told reporters, Failure to address global warming will have us all dead or eating each other by mid-century," CNN recently axed its entire seven-person environmental team, including award-winning veterans like Miles O'Brien and Peter Dykstra (the latter has since found refuge in the new MNN. CNN has still produced some great environmental reports of late, including the major "Planet in Peril" series, but this isn't the first time the network has disappointed by cutting back on green content (just ask former "Earth Matters" reporter Natalie Pawelski).
But at the same time CNN was cutting reporters, CNNMoney launched a new web-only program on sustainable business. And the host is long-time TDG contributor Olivia Zaleski (Go Olivia!). Co-branded with Fortune, the "Business of Green" features highly produced, brief segments that appear every Wednesday. Olivia and Fortune editors examine the people and companies that are breaking new ground in sustainable business.
Olivia makes an eminently watchable, engaging host, and she certainly "gets green." Her most recent report was filed from the floor of the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, and features interviews with reps from Honda, Toyota, Ford and more showcasing the next wave of efficient vehicles. (I want that new Honda Insight!)
Bill Reinert, manager of advanced technology for Toyota, told Olivia that the third generation Prius will get 50 miles per gallon. He also pointed to the car's cool solar cells in the roof, which power a fan that helps cool the cabin, reducing need for a/c.
In an earlier report, Olivia shows how one company is boosting recycling rates and saving a town money while still turning a profit -- with an innovative new technology. Other episodes highlighted urban wind turbines and green initiatives at IKEA, Home Depot, Patagonia, Stonyfield Farm and elsewhere.
In the following days of this Recession, it's going to be critical to get the economy moving, and like Van Jones and a lot of other people we're hoping new green jobs in alternative energy and conservation, emerging cleantech and sustainable agriculture will help lead the way. "Business of Green" couldn't have come at a more important time.
The show's videos can't get be embedded onto other web pages, but Olivia told us that's coming. Also, CNN's video player seems a little fickle: so if you are having trouble watching, try closing down all other browser tabs and windows, and giving it a little extra time to finish downloading.
While it's disappointing that CNN has taketh away even as it giveth this new web program (sort of like Google!), we hope "Business of Green" helps show consumers and companies how they can do well by doing right.
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