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Green's Gonna Getcha

Choosing an environmentally friendly route for your animal shelter can offer healthier, more natural, and more cost-effective means of operation, but with potential hurdles down the road, it’s wise to look both ways before going green.

Choosing an environmentally friendly route for your animal shelter can offer healthier, more natural, and more cost-effective means of operation, but with potential hurdles down the road, it’s wise to look both ways before going green.

Collage: Bussolati Associates
From the rise of hybrid vehicles, to the increase in vegetarian diets, to the call to decrease purchases of plastic-bottled water, one thing is clear: The word is go for green. With the polar bear climbing onto the long list of species threatened by habitat loss, with the United Nations calling climate change “one of the critical global issues of our time,” and with both industrialized and developing countries’ insatiable thirst for the world’s rapidly dwindling oil supply, the warnings of environmental scientists around the world take an ominous timbre: We’ve reached a critical point for the future of the Earth, and only serious changes in human behavior have any hope in setting us back on track toward a sustainable future.

But while everyone’s thinking (and panicking) globally, animal shelters are charged with acting locally. Driven by mission, shelters are, appropriately, more focused on saving animals in their communities than they are on the larger picture of reducing pollution, increasing recycling, and going green. And shelters everywhere deal with the realities of the other kind of green—greenbacks, that is, which must be used to pay staff, feed and house animals, buy gas for animal control trucks, pay utilities bills, and so forth.

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