Amongst the hoo-ha of the US presidential inauguration I noted a small article stating that the new President is getting some pressure to turn the White House lawn into a vegetable patch all be it a somewhat large one, under the spiffy banner of eat the view. Putting aside for the moment critical considerations this would create, such as defining if broccoli was patriotic enough to be planted, and if a composter would be seen as a threat to the nation. There may be mileage in taking this idea a step further to demonstrate his by now well documented and stated clean tech commitments.
So amongst the bean poles and rows of cabbages can we expect to see a thundering bio-mass unit converting the degradable waste and compost, PV panels on the greenhouse, and a small wind turbine chugging away behind the West Wing all working to create renewable energy? Will the presidential helicopter, Marine 1, and Air Force 1 now run on bio-diesel and is there an electric cell capable of hauling 2.5 tons of armoured “beast”, every time the president heads out the door for a spot of business?
Personally I think this well meaning statement could well begin a drive by the green fingered and minded amongst us globally to get their own leaders to follow suit and cultivate their manifesto to a full green policy. I can already imagine Parliament Square opposite the Houses of Parliament in the UK becoming a series of allotments allowing ministers from all parts of the house to grow their own. Shed space may be optimal but in the spirit of green I am sure that a cross party pact for wheel barrows, dibblers, lobbers and spades could be reached.
Aside from the humour – for which as a person of little or no horticultural skills, I make no apology – there is a valid point to be made that IF you are going to be seen as green (and I for one have every belief that this president has very little choice but to deliver on his promises for a green revolution), then it makes total sense to start on your “home turf”. Digging up the lawn is one thing, promoting and supporting new and better technology that can create jobs, reduce emissions, and maybe give the human race a few more millennia is quite another.
So I would ask Barack to by all means bring in a team of ruddy faced gardeners to make the view more productive and edible, but also regularly invite smart and able clean tech businesses to show how much of an impact they can make. It does not have to be over complex nor involving major redesign of the Pentagon or the Oval Office – just things that like growing food locally makes total and utter sense, and prove to the doubters that when you say something you have the gumption to stick to and deliver it.