April 25, 2006

The Next Green Revolution

Flinty Catherine Mulholland, author of the biography of William Mulholland - the water "czar" who brought water to Southern California in the early 20th century - was asked to comment on her famous grandfather's many critics. Her response:

"They take baths don't they?"

The same could be said of many (not all) environmental activists who use modern technology to organize cross-state rallys to raise their Luddite complaints to block innovative, green business ventures. How do they think this civilization came to provide them with utilities like cellphones, plumbing, electricity, transportation, and the internet?

This article, which appears in Wired Magazine (May 2006) takes this theme and applies it to the changing face of environmentalism. The Green Revolution must rise above NIMBYism and communal provincialism and recognize the stakes inherent in the status quo - pollution, global warming, blackouts, and foreign wars.


The Next Green Revolution:
How technology is leading environmentalism out of the anti-business, anti-consumer wilderness.
By Alex Nikolai Steffen

For decades, environmentalists have warned of a coming climate crisis.

Green-minded activists failed to move the broader public not because they were wrong about the problems, but because the solutions they offered were unappealing to most people. They called for tightening belts and curbing appetites, turning down the thermostat and living lower on the food chain. They rejected technology, business, and prosperity in favor of returning to a simpler way of life. No wonder the movement got so little traction. Asking people in the world's wealthiest, most advanced societies to turn their backs on the very forces that drove such abundance is naive at best.

Americans trash the planet not because we're evil, but because the industrial systems we've devised leave no other choice. Our ranch houses and high-rises, factories and farms, freeways and power plants were conceived before we had a clue how the planet works. They're primitive inventions designed by people who didn't fully grasp the consequences of their actions.

You don't change the world by hiding in the woods, wearing a hair shirt, or buying indulgences in the form of save the earth bumper stickers. You do it by articulating a vision for the future and pursuing it with all the ingenuity humanity can muster. Indeed, being green at the start of the 21st century requires a wholehearted commitment to upgrading civilization. Four key principles can guide the way:

  • Renewable energy is plentiful energy.

  • Efficiency creates value.

  • Cities beat suburbs.

  • Quality is wealth.

  • It may seem impossibly far away, but on days when the smog blows off, you can already see it: a society built on radically green design, sustainable energy, and closed-loop cities; a civilization afloat on a cloud of efficient, nontoxic, recyclable technology. That's a future we can live with.



    Craig said...

    Many say we will see $3.50/gal this summer. If you factor in Iran, who knows how high it could go. Everyone knows America MUST get off the oil. After September 11, 2001 I expected our President to call on Americans to GET OFF THE OIL. I was expecting a speech like the one JFK gave that motivated us to reach for the moon. As you know, this never happened. Eventually I realized that the only way this is going to happen is for us to do it ourselves. To that end I created this idea and have been trying to make it a reality..

    The EPA is offering a research grant opportunity that I believe is a perfect fit for this idea. I have sent an e-mail to a hand picked list of university professors who have experience with government research projects. I’m looking to form a research team to apply for the EPA grant, conduct a social-economic experiment and surveys to determine to what extent the American public will support it, project the economic potential of WPH, and identify logistical, social and political obstacles as well as opportunities.

    All government grants are awarded based on merit of the proposed research. I believe WPH has merit but your help is needed to verify it. You can help by posting your feedback. Let the professors and the EPA know what you think about WPH. Do you think this idea is worth pursuing? We need to know if Americans will support a plan like this.

    Do you have any ideas to improve the plan?

    Share any and all of your thoughts.

    Tell your friends and family about this Blog post and ask them to post their thoughts on WPH


    Thank you


    C. Scott Miller said...

    I have been to your site and while I applaud your desire to get an initiative like this going, I don't think it will be as efficient as the free enterprise system. There is no one technological silver bullet - the algae to biodiesel farm in your initiative running on diesel cars- that is going to solve this problem. There is no one company, agency or government that can possibly manage it.

    We need nothing less than a paradigm shift to get us through this energy breakdown - a free enterprise, synergistic collaboration of companies working independently to solve the myriad problems of this exciting challenge. The profit motive is critical here because profit is how you best leverage the energy and commitment of people.

    We need government to clear the path. They can help by supporting investment - reducing the financial risk involved in deployment of some of the better ideas. Some of these deployments involve building $200 million dollar commercial-scale facililities. It will also require leadership at the state and federal level - people willing to stake their reputations on supporting the progressive, clean technologies necessary to complete the environmental tasks at hand. Their biggest job may be placating the implacable Luddites and NIMBYs that populate much of the environmental movement.

    Anonymous said...

    As a world preview, here is Schietti’s Serpentine and Schietti’s Engine

    Continuiamo a non trovare sulla vostra rivista la notizia dell'invenzione del moto perpetuo e come tutti gli altri ne dovrete rispondere in tribunale: perchè non volete parlare dell'invenzione del moto perpetuo e quindi dell'energia gratis e quindi dell'acqua gratis? Ci penseranno gli avvocati a chiedervelo.


    Il primo esemplare di Motore di Schietti clandestino è stato consegnato

    Svolta nel mondo dell'energia, è stato inventato il moto perpetuo, free energy per tutti!