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D.F. Krause
  D.F.'s Column Archive
December 28, 2005
Living the Green Vision at the George Jetson Mall
When I think of a trip to the mall, needless to say, I think about a future for America in which our crippling dependence on fossil fuels is broken – and we all share in embracing principles to promote a more sustainable lifestyle.
Or I think of sticky buns. I’m not sure which.
An outfit based in Syracuse is making its case for the former, sparing no fanfare in preparing for the construction of Destiny USA (that’s the company’s name as well) – a big, shiny, George Jetson-looking sort of place that will be built in Syracuse and appears less like a mall than a big glass palace.
Why would I want to go there? Because I will be “engaged in the green vision before, during and after” my visit. Destiny USA will use no fossil fuels, and will offer visitors “incentives” to make their way there without using fossil fuels. (I wonder if these are the kinds of incentives my Great Uncle Uball would have been wise not to refuse before they found him in the trunk of his Catalina.)
They also vow to reuse everything possible (water, wood, leftovers from the sushi buffet) and use 50 percent less energy total than the, er, non-green-embracing malls.
Oh, the wood will have to be certified as “sustainably harvested” and food in Destiny USA’s restaurants will be organic. And if you want to work there, the qualifications will be a little different than you need for most normal mall jobs. To wit:
Normal mall job
Interviewer: “What is your greatest quality?”
Applicant: “Um, like, I don’t, like, I don’t know!
Interviewer: “You’ll fit in perfectly!”
Destiny USA job
The Destiny USA web site explains: “All Destiny USA team members are knowledgeable green ambassadors, building awareness and inspiring customers, suppliers and partners to build a healthier, more secure world.”
Take that, Town Center on the River Walk by the Square! We’re building a healthier world and you’re just leasing to The Gap. We’re better.
So how will Destiny USA power this entire enterprise without fossil fuels, assuming they can’t get Lance Armstrong to pedal-power the generator like he does on the ESPN SportsCenter commercials?
One of the company’s initiatives involves large-scale wind farms, which might help, although most wind farms sell their power to the same power grids that buy from fossil fuel sources. That’s not to say they can’t provide power directly to an enterprise, but it’s complicated, especially when the wind presents the small problem of not blowing.
There is no doubt they will think of something, because Founder and Chairman Robert J. Congel leaves no room for doubt that he plans to operate “fossil fuel-free” and promote “sustainability.” He also vows to help in “re-establishing global leadership and restoring America’s international image.”
Wow. All that with a mall? Won’t you feel like an idiot if you just go in there and buy leather pants?
Let me see if I have this straight. We have to stop using fossil fuels because we need to use fuels that are “sustainable,” and that means stuff we’re not going to run out of. And fossil fuels, which come from the decomposing bodies of dead things, are going to run out because things have stopped dying?
No wonder all the malls are so crowded.
Destiny USA would not be complete without vowing to offer a “new paradigm in shopping,” so with no cliché spared, the only question is whether people will really go out of their way to share in embracing principles to promote a more sustainable lifestyle.
Organic food? Recycled water? Wind powering the frozen slushie machine? If that isn’t too much for the average American mall rat to resist, I may lose my faith in the green vision.
© 2005 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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