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May 2, 2012 / Green America

Strategy #5: New Technologies to Suit the Times

The booklet “Saving the Titanic” was originally published by Paul Freundlich, founder of Green America (formerly Co-op America).   It contains a dozen green strategies for our society to avoid the “icebergs” of climate change, nuclear catastrophe, economic collapse, and other ills.  Today, we excerpt Solution #5, and over the coming days, we’ll share the rest of Paul’s solutions:

Nothing will be more productive than the development of technologies that support energy efficiency, address areas of environmental concern, or reduce major costs built into the present system. Alternative sources of energy like wind, solar, geothermal and hydrogen fuel cells are obviously at the top of the list; more efficient pumps that husband our fragile water supply; controlling emissions; stem cell research to alleviate the cost and human burden of caring for chronic disease. The long-term effects of genetic engineering need to be considered carefully. Germany, China, Brazil and Denmark are among the leaders in recognizing their economic future is tied to developing potent technologies.

How: Market forces encouraged by governmental and private incentives, including tax credits and loan guarantees for start-up financing. Envirolution, a non-profit, energy training company, has garnered funding from a mix of business, educational institutions and several levels of government by creating a core curriculum focused on youth, and a program that prepares them for jobs in energy audits and retrofitting. Envirolution has its first two sites successfully established in New York and Nevada, with most of their trainees from disadvantaged or minority neighborhoods.

Result: Incentives for new and needed technologies spurs growth and increases efficiency, while reducing environmental impact.

Probability: This is one area where the market economy dis-plays its strengths. Venture capital is moving swiftly.

In the days that follow, we’ll post the rest of Paul’s 12 strategies for righting the ship.

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