Matt Petersen is President of Global Green USA. Recently his organization garnered a lot of media attention thanks to its Red Carpet - Green Cars appearances at movie premieres and other Hollywood events. Matt was kind enough to answer a few questions for Electrifying Times.

 

(Picture: Sting & Toyota Prius for Oscars Green Car Campaign)

Monday May 3rd 2004

RemyC:
Global Green USA has established itself as quite an influential environmental power house in the entertainment industry in the last couple of years, enlisting the participation of such stars as Leo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz. How did this come about?

Matt:
In today's cluttered media environment, we recognize that you have to be creative to harness the power of communication. Working with figures in the entertainment industry that have a deep commitment to the environment has provided a great opportunity to reach millions of people with a message about sustainability, and life style choices.

RemyC:
What are the connections, if any, between your group and what the Earth Communications Office and the Environmental Media Association have done in the past?

Matt:
We know both organizations well, and are supportive of each other's efforts.

RemyC:
The founder of Earth Communications Office, Bonnie Reiss, is now the Governor of California's chief of staff... is Global Green USA in touch with her?

Matt:
We have been in touch with Terry Tamminen, who has been asked to implement Gov. Schwarzenegger's environmental platform.

RemyC:
Governor Schwarzenegger promised to transform one of his Hummers into a hydrogen burning vehicle. Do you know what happened to that promise? Any insight as to why Terry Tamminen, Califonia's new Environmental Protection Agency director appointed
by the Governor put this campaign promise on the back burner?


Matt:
As we have read in recent reports, the Governor still has not converted his Hummer to hydrogen. Personally, I think greening a Hummer misses the point as it represents excess to an extreme degree. The cost and energy needed to make the Hummer clean also makes it cost prohibitive to be done by those except the most wealthy at this point.

Terry has a tall order to fill given the ambitious plan, and the forces in the Governor's administration that may not feel that these plans are the best use of political capital. Terry however is dogged and determined to succeed.

RemyC:
In our correspondence, you mentioned interest in AC Propulsion's t-Zero prototype, a
pure electric convertible sports car with standing start speeds of 0 to 60 mph in less than 3.4 seconds. Do you think the t-Zero might have a future as the new "it" toy for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills?


Matt:
I think it does. Tom Hanks mentioning the car on Letterman has gotten a lot of attention, and I've heard other people in the entertainment industry talk about the car recently. It certainly would take our desire to make ZEV and hybrid vehicles sexy to a new level given it is a sports car.

RemyC:
The Green Stars, Red Carpet campaign Global Green USA sponsors has gotten a lot of media attention since the Oscars, but as to be expected, it has also been poopooed by the conservative press. How do you answer your critics on the right who accuse green celebrities of hypocrisy driving hybrids while also traveling by private jets?
 
Matt:
The reaction shows that we succeeded in our communications campaign to show that hybrid cars can be sexy. We received dozens of emails from around the country, and have talked to dozens of others that saw or read about the campaign, who loved it. Many were inspired by it push them toward getting a hybrid, including a Republican I know. The issue of battling conspicuous
consumption by putting stars in hybrid cars was also a central point. I don't know if these stars fly in private planes, but through our campaign we are both helping stars open their eyes - Tim Robbins got his own hybrid after last year's Oscars and our first year of the campaign - or compliment their already growing commitment.

RemyC:
A team of Japanese engineers built a pure EV limousine prototype called the KAZ, which can reach speeds of 190 mph, and cruise comfortably at 90 mph for up to 300 miles on a single charge. The limousine industry in America is independent from the Big Three
in Detroit, with custom shop scattered all over Southern California. Does this mean we can soon expect pure electric limousines on the red carpet?


Matt:
I think it would be a fantastic opportunity to find another way to show we can do things differently. We will still however promote cars that are accessible to the general public.

RemyC:
A concern I often read on listservs, both from the right and from the left, is that Global Green has Mikhail Gorbachev, an ex-KGB Soviet Union president, on its board of directors. Tell us about the man himself. How did he come about such concern for the environment?
 
Matt:
Gorbachev saw the destruction Soviet policies were causing to the environment, and Chernobyl was the clearest wake up call of all. Growing up on a farm and working the fields gave him an early connection to the Earth and nature. He also sees that politically the environment has to be a
priority for governments, businesses and individuals alike. Gorbachev is considered by many -- including President Bush Sr. -- to be the most critical figure in ending the Cold War, and his closest partners in that period were Republicans. The environment should not be a partisan issue, but given the current Bush Administration's horrific record on the environment, it is hard not to see it in this light.

RemyC:
The name "Global Green" scares anti-globalization demonstrators as well as Globalists alike. Some on the left feel Global Green is using the environmental movement as a pretext for globalization, while those on the right feel Global Green is but a cabal of anti-corporate bleeding heart Hollywood liberals. How do you reconcile the two?

Matt:
We are the US affiliate of Green Cross International. There are 29 different affiliates that comprise a global network of organizations all focusing on issues that are critical in their country. In Russia, it is addressing the legacy of the Cold War and safely destroying chemical weapons and helping the communities around CW stockpiles that are deeply impoverished.

Green Cross Bolivia is working the issue of water by coming up with low-tech solutions in semi-arid regions to provide drinking water to poor villages. They are using cisterns and catchment basins.

The US comprises 5% of the world's population yet uses 25% of the world's energy makes. Therefore, in the US we are promoting green building, fuel efficiency, and renewable energy as a solution.

Green Cross International is committed to addressing the 3 greatest challenges facing humanity: weapons of mass destruction, lack of clean water and climate change. And our focus is not just on nature, but how we ensure the future survival of humanity for one simple reason: man can not live without nature, but nature can live without man. The question of balance is how we find balance between our market economy, government policies, and lifestyle choices around the globe.

Here's the simple answer to your name question: Were it not for a trademark restriction on Green Cross in the US (it is held by the National Safety Council for its Green Cross workplace safety campaign), we would be Green Cross USA. In the countries were there is a tradmark restriction on the Green Cross, we have created Global Green as our alternative organizational name. This is the case for Germany as well, where the national organization is known as Global Green Germany.

RemyC:
Thanks Matt... we appreciate your candor and courage in answering these pointed questions.

For more information about Global Green:
GLOBAL GREEN USA HEADQUARTERS
US Affiliate of Green Cross International
2218 Main Street, 2nd Floor
Santa Monica, CA 90405
310.581.2700 Fax: 310.581.2702