Commentary: Tri-City has long way to go to be green

This editorial appeared in The Tri-City Herald.

Green jobs are a hot topic in Olympia these days.

Tri-City business leaders are on the bandwagon, spending a couple of days on the Capitol campus promoting our region as a hotbed of green jobs.

Our strongest foray into the realm of greenness is the energy produced here: We've got hydro-electric, wind, solar and nuclear.

We're at the forefront of biofuel technology, thanks to the Bioproducts, Sciences and Engineering Laboratory at Washington State University Tri-Cities.

We can talk – and make – energy all day long. And good jobs come along with creating and transmitting energy, from construction to distribution.

But when you're really talking green, that's about all we've got. Not to minimize the impact and importance of our ability to harness wind, water and sun, but the image of a "green" utopia hardly pops to mind when thinking of the Tri-Cities.

We've got decades of work ahead as we continue to clean up Hanford, and nuclear wastes are what too many people outside the region envision when the Tri-Cities are mentioned.

But beyond that, we're just not green. Think of green cities like Portland. People recycle en masse, they ride bikes to work, they have options for public transit, they eat locally. The list goes on.

In the Tri-Cities, only one municipality even offers curbside recycling. In some cities, that kind of recycling is mandatory.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Tri-City Herald.