Economic Catharsis Needed to Create Green Economy

The bad news from Wall Street keeps on coming as the banks can't write down their toxic assets. But there is a silver lining in this debacle. People are saving again. People are becoming thrifty. And people are becoming more cognizant of their consumption. If the whole world followed US consumption patterns, we would need 5 planets. Obviously, not sustainable.

So, the financial press keeps talking about the stock markets, and the banks continue to try to hide their losses. A friend of mine calls it economic treason! But the transition to the new lean, green economy is actually taking shape. Less is more. Getting by on what you have and not you want. This green transition is going to take place because the models and templates of the past are bankrupt. The rule of law will prevail as environment now takes center stage over the $6 trillion energy business. And that business is going to change faster than imagined. When I started my career at the Federal Energy Administration in 1975 (predecessor to DOE) as was told to work with EPA since there were going to be gasoline shortages with taking the lead out of gasoline. There were never any shortages as the energy industry made the investments and process engineers did their magic. Problem solved. Cleaner fuels prevailed.

Well, it's going to happen again. Energy efficiency is getting buzz after 30 years. Renewables are becoming commercial. And the technology today is better than ever before and more breakthroughs will coming in the next 5 to 10 years in reducing the carbon footprint. But it took an economic crisis to set up the underpinings for this transformation to green.

The new pillars of the Green Economy will be finance, technology, engineering and education. It took us 30 years to go down a consumptive path of no return. It will take the next 20 to 30 years to reverse course. But the time is now and people are looking for solutions. The Green Dream starts now!