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The Gilded Age Turns Green

Posted Oct 10 2008 2:10pm
Don't blink. The world we live in is an unprecendented state of flux. First off, our planet is in serious trouble. Ice sheets are melting quicker than originally predicted. Stronger than usual weather patterns have caused a disturbing series of damaging storms. Without immediate intervention, the future is unknown.

Next is the U.S. economy, which is crumbling before our very eyes. Thanks to corporate greed and regulation "lite" from our government agencies, Americans are likely to experience a rather unpleasant recession in the coming months and perhaps years. We, the taxpayers are now financing the bailout to the tune of $700 billion dollars. The bright light in this is the fact that we, the people will not lose everything and jump out of windows like in 1929.

Lastly is government. We have all had the great misfortune of living under a joke of leadership aka the Bush Administration, and the upcoming election is a very serious one. Both candidates look vastly different from where I'm sitting. The one that understands the importance of investing heavily in green technology rather than offshore and Alaskan drilling is the one who can solve a host of issues in one simple shot. It is imperative that we ban together and make the right choice.

Yes, the world is changing quickly, and we are headed back to basics. The Gilded Age of corporate greed, excessive lifestyles and lavish spending will slowly but surely come to a crawl. Over the next decade, I believe that we will witness a shift among corporate leaders towards global corporate responsibility. We have seen it already with T. Boone Pickens and he is just one of the first to emerge. With the failure of Lehman, Bear, Fannie, Freddie Mac, AIG and others, executive pay will be more closely scrutinized by shareholders, regulators and the press. At long last, corporate leadership will be held accountable and will earn a fair wage, not the lottery. Wall Street as we knew it last week, won't exist. The jury is still out in terms of what it will look like, but the huge bets, the huge amounts of leverage and the complete lack of regulation will be things of the past.

The current economic climate already negatively impacts families across our great country. Many jobs have been lost and consumer spending continues to decline rapidly. As a result, and purely by default, the main tenants of green living such as saving money, saving energy, reducing, reusing and others will be adopted. Consumers will look to cut corners, and by doing so will embrace green living more than ever. SUV's are being exchanged for smaller more fuel efficient vehicles, travel has been cut back and we (me too!) look to break out last season's fall handbag rather than buy a new one. Simple pleasures are back in style...a rainbow, a sunset, and an afternoon with your family. Count your blessings, not your cash.

Our new goverment leadership should be working for the people and leading us towards energy independence. This road will bring untold riches to our country in terms of jobs for both the white and the blue collars, the savings from being "off" foreign oil, and the ultimate benefit of seriously reducing greenhouse gases. The U.S. can and should be the world leader in green technology, and by doing so, help other nations adopt clean energy and ultimately, protect our planet.
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