Friday, December 12, 2008

Hope for the Holidays

In the wake of US home mortgage meltdown, the credit crunch, a financial crisis, and growing unemployment, many expected a softening of consumer confidence. But Americans appear to be ignoring the headlines, recent US consumer spending contrasts against the bleak backdrop of global recession. As reported in the National Retail Federation’s recent Survey, there were more shoppers and increased spending on black Friday weekend (Nov 27 - Nov 30) in 2008 compared to 2007, and a 10% increase in online shopping traffic.

Nations around the world are working cooperatively to keep their economies from shrinking. The EU is united in its support for a 260 billion stimulus and Japan has announced that it will add 255 billion to its stimulus. President-elect Obama is expected to join them with a stimulus package of his own once he assumes office.

Wth the American auto industry teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, there are hopeful signs for Green. Earlier today, the EU announced that it had unanimous agreement on a precedent setting plan to cut continental emissions 20% by 2020. Far from being an impediment, the recession appears to be driving Green behavior. Wendy Liebmann, chief executive of consulting firm WSL Strategic Retail, "has noticed that the economic downturn is accelerating mainstream acceptance of the thriftier behaviors of the green movement."

According to a global poll by the HSBC, "The environment remains a top concern for people around the world despite the financial crisis. The new poll, released on 26 November, finds that 43 per cent see climate change as a bigger problem than the economy. The survey confirms the findings of a UNEP poll released in October that showed that nearly 90 per cent of young people across the globe think world leaders should do 'whatever it takes' to tackle climate change. The two surveys are an unequivocal call from people around the world for unity in the fight against climate change."

The severity of the current economic climate has not undermined support for the environment and although the circumstances may be less then desirable, the world is uniting to confront these challenges. Like the Grinch before Christmas, the recession stole trillions of dollars and thousands of jobs, yet people in Who-villes all around the globe continue to hope for a brighter future.

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