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NRDC: Real Estate Mogul
The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) prides itself on being "the nation's most effective environmental action organization." However, NRDS has a new business: real estate mogul – Hollywood style. In keeping with the modest nature of their celebrity backers, NRDC has opened the David Family Environmental Action Center and Leonardo DiCaprio e-Activism Zone.

What makes the real estate venture particularly ironic is that NRDC had no pre-existing interest in constructing a combination exhibition hall and gift shop let alone an internet café whose computers are set to "the NRDC/DiCaprio home page." The organization simply wanted some office space in Santa Monica. However, local regulations state that "[a]ll businesses along Second Street are required to offer retail or other pedestrian-oriented pastimes in their street-level storefronts." Since the retail/pastime use of the space would apparently not be produced by the local real estate market, the city regulations, in essence, require a waste of space. How requiring the waste of resources fits into Santa Monica's environmental ideals is not apparent.

What is also not apparent is why an environmental organization is sponsoring new construction projects when they could get by with considerably less space, even if it were on a less trendy street. NRDC justifies the new construction with its attendant use of energy and other resources by noting that it is a "green building." Its easy to tell that the new celebrity-named Center and Zone are environmentally sound since the building received a "platinum award" for "sustainable design" from yet another celebrity, Robert Redford. To ensure full utilization of the new real estate resources, the Center is now open to the public for four hours, four days a week.

It appears to Winston that NRDC favors the waste of material resources as long as the waste is blessed by enough self-promoting, deep-pocketed celebrities (who simultaneously make generous contributions to NRDC). Perhaps next time NRDC needs another office, they simply rent already built space, e.g. they reuse existing resources. Its called recycling. Winston suggests NRDC check it out.
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