The Southwest has entered a permanent drought.3
Storms are more frequent and more devastating. Farmers lost billions of dollars in crops. We have about 5 years to get pointed in a new direction. Otherwise, food, energy, water, transportation and housing prices will skyrocket, the stock market will tank and we will spend our lives dealing with storms and chaos.
Soon after, large parts of the world will be uninhabitable.
Seriously. It’s that bad.
The reason our planet is heating up is because humans and industry are belching carbon into the sky quicker than the sky can absorb it. The haze traps heat from the sun. The more clogged our air gets, the hotter things get. The hotter things get, the more dangerous everything becomes – the seas rise, storms pick up steam in some areas but don’t show up in others.
We have known about global warming for decades, but we haven’t done anything about it for two reasons. First, the things that make global warming also make our lives productive and fun. Power plants, coal power, cars, buses, planes and heating and cooling systems give off the gasses that mess with the atmosphere – all things we don’t want to give up. We could reform the technology behind our power, transportation and a/c, but the guys making all the money from oil and coal have fought like hell to keep things business as usual. Guys like the Koch brothers – heirs to a giant oil pipeline and refinery company – have sunk billions of dollars into mouthpieces and scientists to brand global warming a hoax.
But, the Koch brothers are just your average plutocrats facing the sunset of their empire. They’re the buggy whip makers who think the car is just a fad. They’re silent movie stars offended by the “talkies.” They’re travel agents ignoring the Internet. All industries – particularly dirty ones – get replaced by innovation. The entrepreneur, the visionary, the adult determined to repair the world topples the old guard.
“The regular process of economic evolution is that businesses are left with stranded assets all the time,” says Nick Robins, who runs HSBC’s Climate Change Centre. “Think of film cameras, or typewriters. The question is not whether this will happen. It will. Pension systems have been hit by the dot-com and credit crunch. They’ll be hit by this.”4
All around us, we see the slow expiration of the old way. Dependable, well-paying jobs are scarce; retirement stripped; schools crumbling; wars on teachers and each other; planet getting hotter, urgency getting nearer. Old energy, like coal and oil, are dangerous, toxic; they ruin your water and foul your neighborhood. Jobs in old energy are treacherous, filthy and cheap. Men like the Koch brothers – who inherited their place in the world – soar while more and more people drown. We will not continue to do business as usual. Humans are simply too resilient and shrewd to put up with this forever.
Global warming is – above everything else – a fast-moving freight train of change. Change brings opportunity. And, that’s where you come in. Because great, global change creates both casualties and victors. The casualties refuse to change. The victors see the future and carry it on the back of their ideas and labor.
The global climate crisis is an opportunity to completely remake both your world and your life. According to a bunch of really smart scientists, here are some things that need to happen to clear the air:
• Cars need to double their efficiency to 60 miles per gallon.
• We need to drive less cars and take more co-owned or public transport.
• We need to power our homes and businesses more efficiently.
• We need to install solar panels.
• We also need to heavy industry stuff like capture and store carbon.
We may fail. Or we could succeed, but still live in a hotter world.5
Who will make cars more efficient? Who will initiate new arrangements for getting around? Who will sell homeowners with energy efficiency gizmos and who will install them? Who will truck solar panels, who will clean them and service them? Who will do the engineering or calculations necessary to capture carbon? Who will sell land to coal companies to house the carbon?
These aren’t just opportunities – they’re needs for smart people to see and build a new way of working and living and powering every minute. If you want to be a part of the revolution, but don’t know where to start, here are some resources:
◦ For green businesses: Opportunity Green
◦ For businesses looking to go green: Clean Technica
◦ For small business owners: The Big Green Opportunity
◦ For news and public information: Department of Energy
◦ For the Environmental Entrepreneurs
And, if you have thoughts about opportunities in the new green world, please email me and let me know.