For those of you who don't already know (or haven't read my previous posts espousing its merits), the Gunnison Valley Green Business Directory is one of ORE's central projects, and aims to promote local businesses who have demonstrated that they care enough to take some initiative for the environment and for our community's sustainability. The directory has seen two iterations in the form of two small booklets, each listing a whole slew of businesses who have taken steps towards sustainability, ranging from construction outfits to cleaning services to restaurants in Gunnison and Crested Butte. Accompanying each business's listing are notes on their "green" initiatives, such as using recycled materials or designing energy-sound buildings. While some of more fundamentalist leanings would argue that there should be some bureaucratic evaluation of all candidates for this guide, part of what makes this effort special is that it relies more on the sincerity of businesses and their employees who genuinely want to make a positive difference than it does on bureaucracy. This approach, it seems to me, does not, at least for the most part, attract businesses that are just wanting to sucker people into thinking that they are "environmentally responsible." Quite to the contrary, most of the businesses featured in the directory want to be part of something bigger than their own agendas. Instead of getting smarmy little certificates that state that they passed various rigorous tests for the space-age modern junk that somehow saves them 90% of their electric bills and have been recognized for their vast infrastructure of recycle bins that have been filled with soda bottles that nobody bothers to wash out (pardon the slight editorial), the businesses in the Green Business Directory get to be an integral part of the growing move toward sustainability in Gunnison and Crested Butte, a prospect far more tangible than some certificate.
And, of course, the really exciting thing is that the Green Business Directory is growing, and presumably being read by people around the valley. As such, the printed booklets are missing some of the guide's newer additions, which brings me to another important point. Namely, as much a I love the Green Business Directory booklets in all of their non-digital glory, I am also working on adding an entire section to ORE's website that is dedicated to the directory and can be updated. When this project is complete in the next few months, Resourceefficiency.org will not only have a downloadable version of the current directory (but, really, please pick one of the real ones up around town), but will also have an up-to-date webpage version of the guide that showcases all of the new businesses who have climbed aboard. So, in the mean time, please get out around town and support some of these people and businesses with your patronage so that they can continue to work on making positive contributions to our communities and sustainability.