Greening the Government: The Contest

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A few weeks ago, Barack Obama signed an executive order directing the federal government to start setting an example on sustainability. Seems like a reasonable goal, if the administration is serious about overhauling the rest of the economy.

The order directed agencies to set greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for 2020 by the end of the year, and calls on them to improve energy efficiency, reduce oil and water use, and make more sustainable technology and product purchases.

On Monday the White House launched a new website for 1.8 million federal employees to face off on who can be the greenest of all. Top ideas will be presented to a sustainability steering committee. The challenge runs through the end of the month. There aren’t many ideas so far, but here are a few:

  • “To promote mass transit use and reduce carbon emissions, I think all agencies should include public transit information on their websites.”
  • “Just as some agencies provide parking or public transportation stipends, allow employees to apply those same funds to bicycle purchases.”
  • “Require all new constructions to meet minimum LEED standards.”
  • “All federally-owned buildings should be audited to identify energy wasted due to poor insulation, then renovated to address identified inefficiencies.”
  • “Old windows should be replaced with double paned windows to conserve heat.”

All extremely practical, really.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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