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EDITORIAL SAVING THE PLANET EARTH DAY IS THE RIGHT TIME TO COMMIT TO A 'GREENER' LIFESTYLE.

FOR the past 37 years, Americans have spent April 22 celebrating environmentalism and ignoring it the other 364 days. But from this Earth Day on, we all need to take environmental concerns more seriously.

For one thing, the reality of climate change and humans' role in warming the Earth has gone from the realm of possible to become an almost certain fact of life. We must change our lifestyles if we want to continue to have them at all.

Data shows that most Americans get this. A Washington Post-ABC News poll last week found that 80 percent of Americans said they would be willing to change their habits to help out the planet -- even if it caused them some inconvenience.

If Americans are willing to change their behavior, then lawmakers and business leaders must help them out by encouraging environmentally friendly industry, by incentivizing or, if necessary, coercing green consumer behavior and by spurring new markets.

A perfect example is hybrid cars. When they first started becoming commercially available, the super-low-emissions vehicles were pricey. And the savings on gas alone wouldn't drive sales as it would take more than a decade to realize savings. But a series of incentives such as federal tax breaks, unfettered use of the state's car-pool lanes and free parking at L.A.'s city meters contributed to driver demand for the superclean cars, which led to a lowering of their prices and an incentive for other automakers to use the technology.

This is the right technique to encourage and develop other types of green technology, from solar power to paperless information systems, that could improve our lives and our environment, but need a little kick start in the market.

This isn't optional. It is our future. And all of us -- from consumers to political leaders, CEOs and entrepreneurs -- need to do our part.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Apr 22, 2007
Words:308
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