Waste Management recently held its annual Executive Sustainability Forum. One of the conversations that caught my attention was between former Republican White House Press Secretary Dana Perino and Democratic Party strategist, Julie Roginsky. That’s right. Political rivals sat down face to face, post-election. Given the divisive political climate we now live in, tornados didn’t start swirling overhead. Chasms didn’t split open into lava pits beneath their feet. Lightning bolts didn’t fly across the stage to char and blacken the carefully laid out interview set.
What did take place was a very friendly, informative discussion about the future of environmental policy with perspective from two women who impressively represented the views of their respective political party.
Roginsky believes that when it comes to environmental policy, the United States is in danger of falling behind the rest of the world when it comes to dealing with climate change, and perhaps we should look to state governments to create proactive policies on climate change and renewable energy. She also says that tech companies are leading the way in those regards, “But you also have companies like Apple that are investing over a billion dollars in renewable energy because they understand that it’s cheaper. They’re not doing it just altruistically, they’re doing it because it makes financial sense to them.”
On the other side of the discussion, Perino believes that every policy will be scrutinized through the lens of whether or not it creates jobs. She also imparted that efforts to reduce greenhouse gases won’t be completely ignored by the new administration, but it will take a back seat to national security. She said, “If it looks like being the leader in new technologies that will also mean less greenhouse gas emissions and there’s more jobs, that’s a win-win for this administration. I don’t think they would shy away from anything that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
The video is about two hours long. If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, a good place to start would be at around the 38:45 mark and go from there.
It’s a good conversation. And it shows that we can have respectful, civil political discourse.