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Green Your Routine: Editor's Introduction

It's a bit predictable and, some would say, knee-jerk, if not fundamentally flawed.

Prices for crude oil, gasoline and other petroleum products are plummeting from their record highs of just four months ago, so that means hard times for alternative energy: Falling stock prices, declining investment and development, and slowing growth, even if the argument for its long-term promise remains compelling and strong.

As veteran oil market analyst Peter Beutel of Cameron Hanover recently put it to CBNC: "This is my now fourth major oil crisis and I have no faith we're going to learn a bloody thing. We're going to get too low [in oil prices] and we're going to kill a lot of alternatives."

The current doom and gloom just so happens to coincide with NBC Universal's latest week-long green initiative, "Green Your Routine". The point is: it's not about fashion or big gestures, it's about what consumers and business do on a daily, perhaps, smaller basis. It's about routine, not revolution, and what's sustainable.

It's also about more than just the fuel we produce and consume. It's about saving energy, conserving energy and bringing energy to sustainable businesses, economies and lifestyles.

Green Your Routine
Green Your Routine

Special Report Highlights

In our special report this week, you'll see how businesses and consumers can do just that.

Check out Shelly K. Schwartz's article on the smart, day-to-day practices that businesses can adopt. It's not climate-change science, it's simple, sensible and affordable.

Brooke Sopelsa's profile of a New Jersey car wash owner takes a look at what small business can do, and how one entrepreneur is trying to take his green practices to the next level. Solar panels are not enough for owner Rob Burke; he wants to incorporate wind power, as well.

Green, of course, is becoming a big business; at the same time, big businesses of all kinds are adopting sustainable goals and implementing effective practices.

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Marriott International, for instance, is putting its green practices front and center for its customers. CFO Arne Sorensen, who co-chairs the lodging giant's green council, shares his experiences and insights in one of our Q&A profiles.

Find out what more about what Marriott and other companies, such as Dell, are doing.

If you're running a company and looking for some help in integrating renewable energy systems into your facilities, you'll want to learn about Solar Design Associates and its founder Steven Strong, who sits down for a chat with Sopelsa. The solar architecture and engineering company has worked for BP and the White House.

We also have some advice and insights from Christine Whitman, former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, who now runs the Whitman Strategy Group, a business consulting firm that specializes in government relations and such environmental and energy issues as climate change and green development.

Whitman, who grew up on a farm (and still lives on a one), also has a thought or two about green living.

Which gets us back to the original point about fashion vs. fundamentals. Given current gasoline prices, some are speculating that sales of hybrid and other non-conventional vehicles will suffer.

Consumers, of course, can be fickle, especially when it comes to discretionary spending, but it's easier than ever to find every day green products. The EcoMoms Alliance just launched an online marketplace for that. JeeYeon Park talked to founder Kimberly Pinkson about the group's new initiative and how it fits into the overall mission.

How To Live Green

But again, some things make sense no matter what the circumstances. Joseph Pisani has eight tips on putting a little green in your life as well as dealing with some everyday things that can have a negative environmental impact. For those with greater ambitions, check out our slideshows on greening devices for you home as well as a green home renovation guide.

Finally, with it being mid-November and the holiday shopping season just two weeks away, we want to give you another chance to put your money where your mouth is, by including a green gift guide.

And, no, we're not talking potted Christmas trees, LED lights or biodegradable toys. Check it out.