The Times are Changing

The Times are Changing

By Kevin Vanderheiden

After working at TGEink, and wading up to my ears in press releases, reports, and messages to investors, I’ve learned most people have no idea what I’m referring to when I mention my tasks. Most people think this is some hippie magazine.

The people taking action, to even my surprise, are not the aging hippies as one might assume. No I’m not sitting here in a tie-dye shirt listening to some love hocus pocus muttering “the Climate, man… Mother Earth needs us Man…” I am sitting here screaming via my fingers into the keyboard “Wake up, the world is changing! You can get left behind with your cutting edge 19th century science or contemporize.” 
But, of course it is polite and effective to use rhetorical niceties. Belay that!

Here it goes with the rhetorical niceties stripped away. Lately the political sphere collectively shelves the issues of how we will upgrade our energy, water and transportation infrastructure. Most citizens seek to assuage their current anxiety about bills or an ever tumultuous world. That‘s normal. When I wake up, I ponder if I have gas to get to work, if my tires will hold, what will I eat and lastly bed sure sounds nice right now.  What boggles my mind, after I shrug off my morning anxiety, is that Miami regularly floods with the high tide. California experiences record drought. Wildfires run rampant in the Western extremities of the country. Record hurricanes batter the Eastern coast while tornados ravage the Central Plains. The salient point, regardless of the impact of human activity, is our response. Mismanaged responses would prove disastrous.

The U.S. Department of Defense is concerned that global climate changes are aggravating problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership and weak political institutions that threaten stability in a number of countries. After experiencing a multi year drought since 2006, coupled with the Assad regime inability to adequately distribute essential human needs of food and water, the populous revolted. 

The important knowledge I gained since beginning here pertains to how robust the 21st century green economy. Via my digging through press releases, there are dozens of traditional companies preparing for the long hall. Instead of spending money to stagnate and meet a prohibitively expensive wall, they spend profits to innovate and ensure an irrevocably changed climate will not deny a prosperous future.

Examples include:


  • Ford
    • Henry Ford experimented with plant-based fuels or biofuels. 
    • Recently appointed the companies first senior vice president of  sustainability, environment and safety engineering. 
    • Produces seat made of 100% recycled post-industrial materials and soy based seat foam. 
  • Subaru
    • In 2008 Subaru implemented a sustainability plan for their Lafayette In. plant achieving zero landfill status. 
    • Achieved 99.8% refuse recycling. 
    • In 2012 the company raised the reuse of Styrofoam to 9%.
  • Harley-Davidson
    • Approached 9.4% waste to landfill in 2013
    • In the York PA. plant installed new compressors, which eject waste heat into a paint dryer.


  • Southwest
    • Pursuing lighter weight materials ended with 43 acres of leather. The airline donated the leather on their seats to needy communities.
    • Diverted 3,000 tons of material from landfills via recycling efforts.
    • In 2014 signed an agreement to purchase 3 million dollars of biofuels.


  • Allergen
    • Company wide push towards renewable energy installations
    • Reduced the use of solvents after analyzing efficient use
  • Biogen
    • It appears they use terrariums of plants to filter CO2 byproducts. 

Information Technology 

  • Microsoft
    • Self taxes each department based on carbon usage. the proceeds fund energy efficiency research.
  • Adobe Systems
    • Reduced their energy use by 50% since 2002
    • Built certified a LEED Gold data center.

Food Services

  • Tim Hortons
    • Restaurant chain originating in Canada became the first LEED certified restaurant
    • Across the entire chain of restaurants reduced energy use by 4 thousand megawatts 

The choice rests on current American companies. We can fight a losing war by hoarding and resting on the old shortsighted ways of infinite resources. The question remains who will join the new world, enter into modernity and who will get left behind. I promise you I’m not just spewing experimental drug induced well wishing nonsense.