January 17, 2008
NYT talks the eco talk
In a New York Times editorial yesterday concerning the auto company Tata Motors, the following snide comment was made:
'Given the gas-guzzling behemoths that so many of us in the West feel entitled to, it would seem hypocritical to begrudge people in poor countries an affordable car.
So while we admire Mr. Tata's business and engineering acumen in creating the Nano, we ardently wish that he would focus his talents elsewhere: creating transportation that is both affordable and doesn't emit ever more greenhouse gases. That would be something for the whole world to celebrate and buy.'
Searching the internet lead to locating this interesting December 2007 piece at Streetsblog.org. by Aaron Naparstek, revealing that the Times was rather eco-unfriendly when it came to treatment of their own employees in the company's new headquarters building, supposedly a green showplace. Naparstek writes:
While the Times and developer Forest City Ratner were promoting their new Renzo Piano-designed skyscraper as a "technologically advanced and environmentally sensitive" exemplar of green construction, a lack of bike parking and policies hostile towards cyclists were discouraging employees from commuting to work by the city's most environmentally-friendly mode of urban transport.
"I couldn't believe they built such a supposedly 'green' building without a bike room," [employee Ray] Bengen said. "This isn't exactly the best neighborhood to leave a bike outside all day." '
I am shocked, shocked, that the New York Times is willing to attack other Americans for driving "gas guzzlers" but had not planned in advance to make their building bike friendly. Who would expect such hypocrisy, such a "do as I say, not as I do" attitude from The Gray Lady?
The Times may recommend an eco-politically correct path to others, but at home, money talks. The company knows that space in its building can be turned into badly-needed income, so it has squeezed down the number of employees, and crammed the survivors into offices downsized even further.
Now those employees who bicycle to work (I am guessing most of them younger and lower-paid) have been snubbed, including one Pulitzer Prize winner who has given up his several times a month pleasure of biking because of the "hassle" of parking.
Every day at work he and other cyclists are reminded that their rich boss Pinch Sulzberger sold out their bike racks. And it seems the Times new building isn't green certified:
(Jack Kemp is not the politician of the same name.)