Saturday, April 22, 2006

Happy Earth Day

Today's Google logo says it all. I didn't think anyone else really noticed, but the good folks at Inhabitat did, and they have a nice little writeup that sums up my feelings on the image.

Last night DB and I were driving from one of DC's better neighborhood bars (Rendezvous on 18th St. in Adam's Morgan) and of course the topic of gas prices came up. I'd remarked that on Fox News the night before, Bill O'reilly actually agreed with the environmentalists, in that "maybe they were right [regarding alternative fuels]" and that the USA should have started on it sooner. He's calling for a reduction in consumption. This, on Fox News? I was awestruck. As most might know, I'm in favor of price increases for the simple fact that it is probably the only thing that'll reduce consumption and get Americans thinking about real solutions to real problems. Maybe fuel taxes could be levied and income taxes reduced? As I don't own a car and carpool (just got me a ZipCar card yesterday too, along with the free t-shirt), the prices aren't affecting me too much. For whatever reason a couple of years ago, I figured I'd hedge against price volatility by moving to a mass-transit oriented area with shopping nearby. Work is less than 5 miles away, groceries a couple of blocks. I realize everyone can't do this but it begs the question "How does one orient their lifestyle as to make it convenient yet affordable?" The growing trend in going old-school, that is the development of dense live/work/shop areas is helping to fuel the growth and renaissance of smarter cities.

Regardless, when a financially successful company such as Google recognizes the inherent value in solving global problems through say, the use of renewable energy, well you can figure out the rest. At the heart of the issue is this; deep down, the world's tech innovators are problem solvers. Many might not care a lick about the newest laptop processor or thin film photovoltaic technology or hybrid lithium ion batteries. What they do care about is a. making money and/or b. improving human lives. To do either, we have to tackle a range of intractable problems facing humanity, and indeed the entire planet. Those that solve these problems well will probably get very rich, not to mention become heroes of the global populace. When wealthy folks from Bill Gates to Richard Branson to George W. Bush (Crawford Ranch and the White House) decide renewables are for them, it'd do us regular people some good to take note. Thanks trendsetters. The rest of us will get on board soon. Maybe. Hopefully.


Blogger Damali said...

I too am glad that this growing gas price crisis is forcing the average American to pay a bit more attention to the so-called "tree hugging environmentalists" that they've been laughing at for the last 20 years. With climate change being talked about more and more in the mainstream news, i'd say earthlings are finally understanding that we can't keep abusing our planet and expect it to always be around.

Now if only we can do something about Darfur *sigh*

3:46 PM  

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