Saturday, October 11, 2008

Thoughts On Accountability and Opportunity As the Credit Crisis Slows Investment in Clean Energy Development

I just finished reading this post on Grist and a N.Y Times article that it links to about the credit crisis slowing investment in clean energy development, and I’ve gotta say – I’m pretty hoppin’ mad. As one of the sources cited in The Times piece acknowledged:

"financing for carbon-cutting projects is harder to find and...financiers (are) more cautious than before the crunch."

Reading this N.Y. Times expose last weekend detailing how the Bush Administration's policy blunders and negligence on oversight have brought us to this point didn’t exactly help me feel better. Lovely – thanks for bringing us to the verge of another Panic of 1873. As top market analysts have stated:

"We still don't know the extent of the damage still coming from Lehman. But we do know that the federal government has made it so we are all afraid. That's not going away. My hope is this -- new president, better team." - Jim Cramer,

"Recessions are simply part of the business cycle... Depressions are caused by governments making major policy mistakes. And we have made some in the areas of not regulating mortgage lending, allowing the five large investment banks to increase their leverage to 30 or 40 to one in 2004 (what was the SEC thinking?), and failing to oversee the rating agencies." - John Maudlin, Thoughts from the Frontline Weekly Newsletter, 10/10/2008

While other sources in the articles about impacts of the credit crisis on clean energy investment fortunately remained optimistic - as do I - one thing that leaves me at a loss of words as I consult with top sources to understand both the problem and the best potential solutions is this: where is the accountability?

Name me one person charged by the Administration with overseeing Wall Street and the economy who’s been fired, reprimanded, transferred, tarred and feathered, or forced to eat McDonalds for 30 days straight… Or who’s stood up to bravely take the heat for our government’s gross mismanagement of its oversight of the financial system.

Granted, we’re about to have a big national accountability moment in a few weeks – on November 4th. I’m a registered independent – I vote by issues not by party. But there’s no way that if this was a Democratic administration and a Republican Congress, Congress wouldn’t be screaming like Puritans at the Salem Witch Trials for heads to be rolling and people to go to jail.

As the credit crisis slows investment needed to fuel clean energy and energy efficiency projects – the seeds of the emerging green economy that YOU are helping give birth to if you’re reading this blog – it’s time to get vocal and (1) demand some accountability here, and (2) step up to become part of the greater policy solution. Aside from our work advancing green living and business solutions and voting, we need to write to and meet with our local, state, and federal representatives – and make sure that the best ideas for how to green the recovery, from a ‘100 Days of Climate (and Energy) Action’ to ‘Green Collar Jobs', to how to gain ‘Freedom from Oil’ to 'Plan B' and 'Natural Capitalism' (among my favorites), are actually incorporated into legislation. We need to become active in the policy arena, as Focus the Nation leader, Eban Goodstein, emphasizes.

What steps to you recommend right now to help America and the world turn this crisis into the opportunity we’ve been waiting for: to gain major policy victories that propel us into the next – green-powered – economy?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Exposing Diverse Audiences to Green - Mos Def, Backed By 30-Piece Orchestra, to Headline FREE Green Music Festival in S.F.

Are you a green maven who loves your work finds it hard to put it all down and go out and have some fun? Well, here's an opportunity to do both - and if you're a Bay Area green business, there's also a unique marketing opportunity for you here (see the bottom of this post)...

On Saturday, October 18th, Golden Globe and Emmy Award-nominated actor and Grammy-nominated artist, Mos Def, will be joined by the full 30-piece Realistic Orchestra and very special guests – headlining the first annual Band Shell Music Summit, in Golden Gate Park’s (S.F.) Band Shell Music Concourse.

Mos Def’s performance will cap a FREE day-long sustainability-themed music festival – presented by Meadowlands Entertainment Group and Conservation Value Institute – that by including artists from multiple musical and cultural backgrounds, aims to connect diverse audiences with green solutions. Also in the line up are Mingus Amungus w/Special Guest Arab Summit, Bayonics featuring Zion I, Josh Jones Latin Jazz Ensemble Featuring Jesus Diaz and John Santos, Dmitri Matheny Quartet, and much more.

The Summit will celebrate the San Francisco cultural icons located to each side of The Concourse – the California Academy of Sciences (just re-opened as the world’s first ever LEED Platinum-rated museum) and the De Young Museum. It aims to leverage the uniting, inspiring power of music and culture to foster awareness of the environmental, economic and quality of life benefits that the city’s diverse communities can achieve by participating in the burgeoning clean energy and energy efficiency revolution.

Special guest speaker, Cooler, Inc. founder, Michel Gelobter, will be on hand to inject the audience with inspiration on how climate change and clean energy solutions are also job-creating and poverty solutions. Gelobter recently led Redefining Progress in designing the world’s most aggressive climate legislation (signed into California law in August of 2006 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger), has been a Congressional Black Caucus Fellow with the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee; and serves on the Advisory Board of Vice-President Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection.

Reaching a Diverse Audience with Green Messaging
As a conservation scientist with close ties to the music industry, I have been working for several years now on projects such as the Green Apple Festival and the ROTHBURY Think Tank, which leverage the viral power of music to connect the masses with green living, business and policy solutions. The Band Shell Music Summit – deliberately targeting audiences that include not only music fans of multiple genres and backgrounds, but also museum visitors – has me particularly excited. It’s rare that I have the opportunity to help expose such a diverse audience to the promise offered by the sustainability revolution - that ‘going green’ is not just about solving climate change and other ‘environmental’ problems, but is a path that will positively transform our (imploding) economy away from dependence on dirty oil and fossil fuels, and in doing so will revolutionize our public health, national security, and quality of life.

For inner city and other low-income communities, efficient, clean technologies offer particularly promising benefits. It’s with these folks that the hundreds if not thousands of dollars in savings on energy bills that efficient technologies provide can make a really significant difference in how much money people have left to spend (or save) after the bills are paid.

Mini EcoVillage to Feature Green Solutions
To promote the poverty-fighting potential of green technologies, PG & E will be on hand to give out 3,000 efficient CFL bulbs. In addition, we’ve secured a solar trailer from SolaRover to provide power for our vendors, and will feature such green living and business solutions as solar power installers, sales of electric scooters and bicycles, a clean vehicle exhibit (including fuel cell and plug-in hybrid prototypes), organic and hemp clothing and natural jewelry boutiques, and perhaps even an installer of residential wind power – perfect for windy San Francisco.

On the non-profit side, HeadCount will be on hand to register fans to vote (the California Voter registration deadline is Monday 10/20, be sure to register to vote!), and multiple environmental non-profits will be on hand to educate festivalgoers in green living, business, and policy solutions. Festival partner, Blue Bear School of Music, will also be on hand, promoting their mission of providing superior quality and affordable music education to aspiring musicians of all ages and skill levels – check out their benefit with Mos Def and friends on Sunday night 10/19 at Ruby Skye!

Come one, come all and please join us in what promises to be a festive day of FREE music and green solutions, with wine and beer to be served in a special beverage gardens. And of course, spread the word! If you’d like to enjoy the festival with an exclusive VIP package, click here for details…

Market Your Green Products & Services - Boothing Opportunities Still Available
If your green business or non-profit would like to have a booth at the Band Shell Music Summit, stop by our “Talk to Us” page, where our booth sales contact information is provided – we’d love for you to join us, and help connect the crowd with products and services who's sustainable production, use and re-use potential reduces , waste and habitat destruction! But be quick, as booth spaces are limited and getting close to selling out.

Sustainability News Headlines - 10/8/2008

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