On April 2nd, I attended the Legal Marketing Association's breakout session, "Going Green: What You and Your Firm Can Do to Help Save the Planet." Initially, I was not scheduled to attend this session, but I was recruited by Alvidas Jasin, the Director of Business Development at Thompson Hine and the program's presenter. I was not sorry that he'd dragged me into the session, because what followed was an informative, entertaining look at how law firms and individuals can "go green."
Alvidas first determined by a show of hands that three people in the audience had an internally branded green program at their firms, with two of these also branding externally. To start, he gave the group some motivation for "going green," based on Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. Explaining that the earth's average temperature is 59 degrees, compared with -67 on Mars, 333 on Mercury, and 855 on Venus, Alvidas said that the higher temperatures of the other planets can be attributed to their proximity to the sun, but also the density of the planet's atmosphere. In terms of the earth, as carbon dioxide concentrations grow, the atmostphere becomes more dense and traps radiation that was previously able to escape. Because of this, 22 of the hottest years on record have occurred during the last 25 years. Though warming and cooling trends are not uncommon, they normally occur over millions of years, not 50 years. Scientists feel that because of the latest warming trend, there will likely be no snow or ice on the North Pole as soon as 2013 - only four years. On the South Pole, there is 1 1/2 miles of snow and ice, but the increase in temperature is causing chunks of this snow and ice to break off, crash into the ocean and raise sea levels.
Contributing to the increasing levels of CO2 is that 75% of electricity comes from fossil fuel plants and there has been an overall increase in the earth's population. It took 162,000 years to reach 1 billion people on earth. In the following 2000 years, this grew to 6.5 billion people. At this rate, there will be 9.1 billion people on the planet by 2050, when we are struggling to find adequate resources already. In terms of CO2 output, the United States is twice as bad as the next worst offenders, Russia.