The recent birth of my first grandchild reinforces my desire to believe that the world that she will inherit will be at least as good as my world, if not better. I am trusting her future to the sustainability leaders and professionals that have emerged during the first part of the 21st century.
What I am betting on is the growing sense of awareness and understanding of environmental issues among the people of the world. It could be that my personal perspective is a little warped. I’ve seen the environmental issue move from the outer fringes to the center of our political agenda.
In some cases we do not understand the impact of human actions on the planet and we need to do more observation and analysis to understand those impacts. In other cases we don’t really know how to repair the damage once it has been done.
o many different types of skills are needed to transition to the renewable economy, some element of our educational process should be devoted to identifying what children like to do and what they are good at. Those may not be the same thing, and it is important for people to identify the useful skills they possess.
As we make the transition to a more sustainable, renewable resource based economy, we will need to build new smart-grid electrical systems, new water infrastructure, coastal resiliency projects, mass transit, public charging stations, and other types of development. This will require innovative efforts to plan, design, build, manage and communicate if it is to succeed.
The Clean Power Plan, the renewable energy tax credit, and state and local sustainability initiatives may not have the glamor of climate conferences in Paris or the media currency of the fight over the Keystone XL Pipeline, but they are the real, operational policies and programs that actually reduce fossil fuel use and speed the transition to a renewable economy
What we are missing here in the United States is the environmental leadership that we had during the 1970s and 1980s when we showed the world how to grow an economy while building our knowledge of ecosystems and reducing the degree of damage we were inflicting on the natural world. Since 1990, technology has advanced and threats to ecosystems come from new sources.