Elevating Earth Day
NEII celebrates the commitment of its members and industry to protect the environment on Earth Day and every day.
By Amy Blankenbiller, Executive Director, National Elevator Industry, Inc.
The year 1970 had no shortage of drama. The Beatles broke up. There was the Apollo 13 non-moon-landing mission. And there was the invasion of Cambodia that led to fatal student protests. The decade that gave us disco and the Brady Bunch got off to a rocky start to say the least. But one U.S. Senator was doing something positive and taking a small but significant step in a fight very few people at the time even realized we should be fighting – the fight to save the planet.
In the spring of 1970, only five days after the Apollo 13 crew safely landed in the Pacific Ocean, Wisconsin Senator (and later Governor) Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day to draw attention to the urgent need for environmental legal and regulatory intervention. At the time, there was no Clean Air Act or Clean Water Act. There wasn’t even an Environmental Protection Agency; the EPA would not commence operations until December of 1970.
And it all started with one special day: April 22.
When Senator Nelson initiated Earth Day, approximately 20 million Americans supported it, according to Earth Day Network. Today, more than 1 billion people worldwide participate in Earth Day activities. This year’s theme is “Invest in our Planet,” something the building transportation industry is taking to heart.
In the upcoming issue of Elevator World, NEII Vice President for Government Affairs, Phil Grone, emphasizes that decarbonizing the built environment is an urgent need that is recognized at all levels of government, with key climate-change actions being taken across the federal and local levels. These efforts include municipalities requiring buildings to significantly reduce their carbon emissions by a certain date or face stiff penalties, as well as the Biden Administration requiring buildings owned by the Federal government to cut energy use by 30 percent by 2030.
The building transportation industry is playing a key role in achieving these objectives. Manufacturers and suppliers are committed to reducing emissions from owned or controlled sources, indirect emissions from power and heating and cooling sources, as well as other indirect emissions that emanate from other parts of the supply chain.
Elevator and escalator companies across the U.S. are focusing on their vehicle fleets, incorporating hybrid and electric vehicles and optimizing vehicle routing for service calls. The industry is also improving sustainable manufacturing, including sourcing renewable energy to support those facilities. As a sector that contributes to both manufacturing and industrial capacity and to the built environment, members of the industry have established a number of important goals between 2030 and 2050 that, when achieved, will contribute significantly to the improvement of the environment and in addressing climate change.
Everyone has a part to play in our success and in the improvement of the environment. Individual and industry action matters. Every contribution is vital. Reflecting on the first Earth Day over five decades ago, the progress we have made, and the objectives we need to achieve, one question should be top of mind—what are you doing to invest in our planet?
NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, TK Elevator and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty-five percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries.
For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org.