The Climate Change Leadership Institute (CCLI) participated in the American Renewable Energy Day (AREDAY) conference in Colorado this past weekend with many clean energy leaders from civil society (including Ted Turner, General Wesley Clark and T. Boone Pickens), the non-profit sector (including the National Wildlife Federation, Center for Public Integrity) and business sector (including GE Water & Power and Shell WindEnergy) along with the all important active citizenry as well as media alike.
The conference focused on effective and cost efficient ways to adopt a transformative clean energy economy in America. There were widespread viewpoints on the rationale for doing this: whether it is to advance our national security (General Clark and Vice Admiral McGinn spoke about the high cost and moral danger of having our men and women in the US military protecting our oil interests in the Middle East and around the world when we could be developing our own resources right here at home), whether it is to protect our public health (Larry Schweiger of NWF made a very strong testimonial about the vital importance the American people give to clean air and clean water that should guide our energy choices), whether it is to do the right and/or at least scientifically prudent thing in light of human induced climate change (Dr. Sylvia Earl, an oceanographer and the former chief scientist at NOAA spoke of the interwoven biological interdependency of our world, how humans are pushing the envelope by now knowingly tampering with the hospitality of life on earth and called for a more humble stewardship), and/or whether it is to create new jobs and advance our economy. See summarizing information on the various compelling presentations by going to http://www.areday.net.
Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) encouraged all of us not to get bogged down in the why but just implement the what, meaning: drop our egos and let people participate from where they are at rather than lecturing or pandering to them and just focus on the unifying solution to all of these prospective motivations. For him that most powerful, unifying solution is for America and the world to cost effectively get off the 19th and 20th century fuels of oil and coal and get on with 21st century innovation by embracing a trilogy of vehicle design revolution (which consists of electric powered vehicles made economical, lighter and stronger with carbon fiber), 50%+ better energy efficiency in our buildings and a fully renewable and intelligent electricity system. Lovins has a new book coming out this fall called Reinventing Fire which fully details this most economic and sensible solution (for a sneak preview go to http://blog.rmi.org/InsideAmericanRenewableEnergyDay).
For me as a concerned parent and citizen, a volunteer founder and executive director of CCLI and also someone who works in the renewable energy business, I appreciate the fact that not only do we have clear knowledge of the dangers of business as usual (as far as exacerbating/perpetuating climate insecurity, health insecurity, economic insecurity and moral insecurity by the burning, extracting, protecting and transporting of fossil fuels) but we now have an economically effective and wide scale security empowering alternative. There need not be fear but hope in changing our ways. There is no excuse not to. And ultimately once again now, as usual with the historic advances of our democracy and modern civilization, it comes down to the bravery and common sense of we the people and our civil society to make this epic transformation happen in real time!