April 23, 2006
Last month’s Wired focused on the advent of a new revolution in environmentalism that eco-pundits are calling the Neo-Green Revolution. At the forefront of this new movement is none other than 2000 president-elect Al Gore, who believes that the solution to our dependence on dirty fuel is not to change our lifestyles, but to put our technological strides to use in creating more efficient, eco-friendly solutions.
I couldn’t agree more with this philosophy. There is no reason we cannot overcome our dependence on fossil fuels through advances in technology rather than a recession of lifestyle. In my opinion, a sustainable future relies on the following coming to fruition:
- Tighter vehicle emissions standards. Car companies are currently getting away with eco-murder with SUV’s that leave an immense footprint on our environment and drive gas demand through the roof. As much as I disagree with big government, these regulations are necessary to curb automobile emissions and fuel usage. Hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles need to replace gas-guzzling vehicles.
- Environmentalism goes chic. In order to generate enthusiasm for our lowly environment, it needs to have a strong marketing department. Western society needs to shift its frame of mind from “bigger is better” to “greener is better.” This includes marketing campaigns advocating the immediate advantages of green products, as well as public service announcements denouncing industrial gluttony.
- Computers, meet the environment. Computers have been used in every facet of industry, from mechanized production to accounting to marketing and beyond. Their role in environmentalism is equally important. On an industrial level, computers can be used to schedule power usage and create more efficient factories and offices. Such “green facilities” would curb energy usage by using advanced scheduling techniques to determine what parts of a building are in use and power them accordingly. This can be mirrored in the home, with “smart houses” partially powered by solar arrays dominating the mainstream. These solar arrays can be connected to our current power grid, creating a decentralized energy infrastructure.
- Organic synthetics. Companies like Fabri-Kal are already creating organic solutions to our plastic addiction. Synthetics companies need to begin researching eco-friendly solutions to the disposable products we use on a daily basis. The foodservice industry is not going away and we need disposable tableware that doesn’t take millenia to decompose.
- Renewable energy (duh). Oil is dirty. It is the single most deadly drug that has ever plagued the human race or the Earth, yet this often goes unheeded because we love our Hummers so much. Wars with oil as their motive kill thousands every year, and this number is growing. If we can turn to cleaner, renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar, and biofuel, this madness can cease and we can find something else to fight about. Watch for these industries to explode in the near future.
- Government and corporate support. This may go without saying, but there’s no hope for change without support from those with the power and money to foster it. World governments (the United States, China, and India, in particular) must realize the dilemma that we currently face and act accordingly to curb our reliance on dirty fuel. Contact your congressmen and voice your concerns!