Wednesday, December 19, 2007

In Vegas Green Means More Than Money

Other Cities Green With Envy

Years ago I earned extra money by driving a taxi in Las Vegas and later a limousine. When people would get into my taxi or limo a couple of questions would fall from their lips. The first was always, "What is the secret to winning in Las Vegas?" To which I'd answer "Don't play." Fortunately for me and the economy of the town few if any ever heeded my suggestion. But I would follow up with, "See all those beautiful and glamorous buildings? How many do you think have been built as the result of tourists winning jackpots?"

Once it was determined that I did not hold the secret to their winning a bundle they would usually follow with, "Do you live here?" I usually ignored the urge to respond by saying that I really live in L.A. and fly in each day to drive this hack because of the retirement benefits, so I'd tell them that yes, I do live here and this is my second job. The follow up question then became, "Do you live near the Strip." And with that I"d give them my other pat answer, "No, I live in a regular community that you will probably not see during your visit. Ninety percent of the tourists see 10 percent of Las Vegas."

Times have changed since my cab and limo driving days and the population has increased in the Valley of the Dollars from about 150,000 to more than two million. But still probably 90 percent of the tourists see 10 percent of Las Vegas. They see what appears to be a huge waste of natural resources. Artificial lighting is practically everywhere and fountains abound spewing precious water like, well, water. But the lights on most buildings have evolved from energy wasting types to energy efficient and the water in the fountains and to water golf courses is non-potable water known as "gray water."

Las Vegas has made valiant efforts to "go green," and to be more ecologically efficient, led by the Las Vegas Valley Water District. The District has paid residents to give up their midwestern type lawns in favor of desert landscaping, limited watering days and times, and even built a Desert Demonstration Garden to show the kinds of beautiful flora that thrive in the desert.

Adjunct to the Garden is a newly opened meeting space in which local companies can learn how to hold ecoconscious meetings and appeal to national companies that wish to have their conventions and meetings in green surroundings. Nationally recognized convention industry spokespeople have given Las Vegas high marks for being on the cutting edge of going green. So the next time you have a meeting or convention to attend in Las Vegas, leave your green in the casinos and meet in a green environment. A little blogging music maestro...perhaps a little Tom Jones singing "Green Green Grass of Home."

Dr. Forgot

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