Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Makower: Where's the Sense of Urgency?

In his first post of 2010, GreenBiz founder, Joel Makower, gets into green business trends, noting three good developments and three disappointing letdowns from the past decade.

His third point of disappointment really resonated with me: at a time in which humanity is faced with the challenges of climate change and peak oil, there's little sense of urgency:

In generations past, people took to the streets to protest wholesale injustices and inequities and, in the process, helped bring about sweeping changes, from the U.S. to the U.S.S.R. These masses were supported by political and business leaders who saw great opportunity in dramatic change, for both themselves and society in general. So, where are the masses marching in the streets demanding action on climate change in the name of future generations? Where is the anger over inaction on energy and climate issues — arguably among the greatest civil and human rights issues we've ever faced? Where is the bandwagon of consumer boycotts and shareholder actions forcing companies to respond? Where are the politicians expending their political capital fighting barriers to a green economy? Why aren't the threats to our security — food security, housing security, water security, energy security, national security — fomenting scores of green Manhattan and Apollo projects? Yes, there are encouraging examples of all of these things, but they are happening much too slowly and don't seem to be making much headway.

It truly boggles my mind that we don't yet have a leader who is standing up to be bold -- and to call out enemies of progress and demand that they state what they are FOR if they are not for a clean energy and efficiency revolution.  Today's challenges need leaders who powerfully convey and defend their dreams in the ways that FDR, MLK and others have throughout the course of history.

Maybe in the coming decade this will change, inspired by a Peak Oil crisis or a climate change surprise...  I sure hope that's not what it takes.

Fortunately, as Makower notes, there is plenty to be excited about.  As readers of this blog will know, we are reminded every day that we live in exciting and transformational times, and are experiencing a historic period of transition away from fossil fuels and a revolution in the way we produce, use, and re-use things.

Will these changes happen fast enough to avoid catastrophic crises in climate, energy or resource availability that shake the foundations of civilization as we know it?  Stay tuned...

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