- Methane flares at a landfill (Photo: Fairfax County, Virginia)
Larimer County in northern Colorado has experienced a major decline in the amount of junk showing up at the landfill in the last few years. Part of the credit goes to local cities and citizens, for reducing their waste and redirecting more stuff to recycling bins. But, as I wrote in a recent column for the Northern Colorado Business Report, “Landfill enterprises look for big haul,” there are several other factors at play, and a project to capture methane gas from the landfill is moving along slowly.
Methane capture technology is used around the country, but especially on the East Coast where much of the research on its impacts has occurred. Projects remove the gas for energy (or flaring), which reduces the amount emitted in the environment where methane is a very harmful greenhouse gas. But in Colorado and other Western states, where moisture is much lower than the East, projects face more challenges in retrieving methane, complicating progress.
When I was finishing my graduate degree in environmental management, a group of executives and leaders from several major conservation organizations came and spoke with a group of us and each offered the same piece of advice, which at the time seemed a little late: Take some MBA classes.
While some classmates were pursuing a joint degree (MBA and environmental management), many of us had steered clear of management courses. By the end of my two years, I realized that learning about accounting or executive admin didn’t mean I needed to be an investment banker (nor would it turn me into a morally bankrupt environmentalist). Fortunately, b-school students are figuring out the converse as well, taking course-loads that combine traditional business education with sustainability and environmental premises.
Two years after the financial meltdown on Wall Street and across the nation, a number of graduate business-school programs have shifted some emphasis to ethics and environmental consciousness and, as with all things green, Colorado is at the forefront. I wrote about the green MBA movement on the Front Range in my July 1, 2010 column for the Northern Colorado Business Report. Continue reading
Colorado, with all its sun and wind and geothermal hot springs, has gotten particularly excited about the creation of green jobs. The state expects to have 600,000 new jobs relating to renewable energy technology and energy efficiency development over the next 20 years. Sounds great, but a major component to the sustainable future becoming a reality is the emergence of a capable workforce.
- The sun shines on solar-panel installers (image via Swords to Ploughshares)
In northern Colorado, community colleges and major universities are reaching out to potential students and tailoring programs to train for a range of green jobs, from smart-grid engineers to hybrid-vehicle manufacturing to solar-panel installation and maintenance. In the April 9, 2010 issue of the Northern Colorado Business Report, my column, “School’s in session for green job seekers,” covers the cresting wave of new programs, including an initiative at Colorado State University meant to attract returning military veterans to green jobs. Continue reading