Monday, July 23, 2012

The Forty Year Plan

Another great story out of TED Talks, this one from Amory Lovins, who sets up a course for energy independence within 40 years. What Lovins suggests is that, by refocusing on renewable energy sources that are cheaper, greener, and more resilient to time, we can develop a system of infrastructure, travel, architecture, and communications that is independent of fossil fuels.

The great thing about green energy solutions like wind and solar is that they can be applied on a micro-level, all the way down to the individual consumer. For example, you could have solar panels and a wind turbine at your house, while your neighbor does not. That gives the proliferation of these technologies more flexibility. And, the expansion of green energy makes us more energy independent, more safe as a nation, and keeps more money and jobs in our own country. In fact, to build and maintain a network of green energy nationwide would create a huge amount of jobs and jumpstart our economy. And, as if that weren't enough, it would help to reduce emissions.

As Lovins points out, this is a long-term and technical process, but it's already underway in places like China and Europe. In Europe, they're developing electric cars that get hundreds of miles to the gallon. They are designing vehicles using carbon fiber to make them lighter so their engines can be smaller and burn less fuel. And they are reworking those engines to burn fuels that are better for the environment. These are the first steps to a green world.

Will America step up? We're one of the biggest polluters, since our cars spew fossil fumes, and our power plants are run on coal and gas. But if we were serious about switching over to green energy, think of what that could mean. It would mean a complete change for our air quality, our urban areas, many jobs created, and long-term growth and development that we could depend on for centuries.

As I've said before, green technology is the inevitable future of our species. If we don't start developing tomorrow's solutions today, we're going to be lost in a crisis before we're able to work out a solution. Personally, I hope America can show more than its traditional foresight and catch up with the rest of the world as it moves forward with renewable, clean, green energy for tomorrow.

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