I received an email request last week from Sam Adams, Portland’s Mayor-Elect, asking for Portlander’s advice on ways our region can capitalize economically by introducing sustainability to China. Adams leaves September 4th for a two-week trip to China hosted by the National League of Cities to discuss green practices and energy efficiency.

“Supporting China in its efforts to become sustainable is not only a moral imperative; it is also an economic opportunity.  One of the goals of the trip will be to place Portland and its businesses in a strategic position to benefit from the ‘greening’ of China,” says Adams. (For text of the entire email, please read It’s Time for Portland to SELL more good and services TO China)

If you have followed any of my rhetoric on sustainability (see my Sustainability post on this blog) you know that I advocate balancing the economy, the environment, and equity.  Adams is touting the economic and environmental benefits of trade partnerships between Portland and Asia, but looking to boost our bottom line at the expense of human rights is in no way sustainable. Oh, it’d be nice to see all of our wallets get a little fatter – especially with economic conditions in America worsening everyday – but we are past getting rich by repressing people (or at least I hope we are trying to get past that).

If we in Portland were true leaders in sustainability, we would make a stand and show the world that to progress in the 21st century, supporting regimes that rule with an iron fist is not acceptable.

In my dream of dreams, Adams would visit China touting our goods and services that they cannot live without, but before contracts are signed, money is distributed, and our products set sail across the Pacific, we declare that absolutely no deals will be made until Tibet is free.

Let Mayor-Elect Adams know your thoughts at:

1221 SW 4th Ave., Rm 202
Portland, OR 97204
tel: 503-823-4128
fax: 503-823-3017