Greening the Government: The Contest

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


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.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate