I think that 2007 needs to be the year when the pace of the transition to a green future accelerates. We need something to super-charge the process, just like the Internet revolution came much faster because of all the over-investments in fiber-optics and infrastructure caused by the dot-com bubble. I sincerely wish that the catalyst would be a positive event, but there are also chances that it could be something catastrophic like a super-Katrina or a new alarming scientific discovery. Let's not wait for a cataclysm. Let's start now.
The good thing is that we have all the technologies and tools, and many things that would assuredly quicken the pace of change are also known:
Correct distortions in the market -- Remove subsidies to fossil fuels, take into account that ecosystems are very valuable on many levels (including economic) even when untouched by humans, and start adding environmental costs to the price of many things (e.g., coal, suburbs) instead of "externalizing" them, and have society as a whole pick up the bill.
Green fiscal reform -- Move taxes from "goods" (payroll, revenue, investments) to "bads" (pollution, toxins, greenhouse gases). This can be done in a revenue neutral way so that taxes are not higher. It would finally align what is beneficial
environmentally with what is beneficial financially.
Green Earth Project -- Create something like the Apollo or Manhattan project for clean technologies. This would cost less than a mid-sized war and change the course of the future in a positive way.
But all of these can only happen with support from the general population: Politicians won't move without it, and corporations won't either. That's why it's so important to make sustainability mainstream and reach that tipping point. That's what we're trying to do at TreeHugger.com, and everybody's invited to join us in this world-changing task. May 2007 be the year. Spread the word!
Michael Graham Richard is the editor of Treehugger.com
Reaching a critical mass is probably the most worldchanging goal we can set in this stage we are in. I trully feel that emotion is the key to to lifechanging influence. We need to be able to play an emotional chord to trully connect with people at this level. This is just as important as financial motivations.
We need to find a way to make it effortless and fun and inspiring to turn the green corner. Emotion and passion is the key. We need to tap into that "proud to be an American spirit" somehow and turn that into our engine of change. People, especially americans need to feel essential in this cause. We need the mainstream to experience powerfull lifechanging things like "we" do when we read Fuller, McDonough and others. We just need a way to deliver it in a ritch, full blown HD giant screen GMC truck commercial kind of way that makes us proud to do our part and forces us to re-think our everyday priorities.