Is sustainability at a tipping point?

TerraPass loves trendy pop economics

We noted earlier that the tides seem to be finally turning against the so-called energy realists who envision an oil-soaked future for America. Looking at the bigger picture, will 2005 be viewed as the tipping point for clean energy?

Several commentators think so. Over at GreenBiz, Gil Friend surveys some anecdotal evidence that suggests sustainability is reaching the mainstream.

Among the factors he cites are public efforts by corporations such as Starbucks, Whole Foods, GE, and Walmart to “go green.” Now, it’s easy to be cynical about these endeavors, but such cynicism at least partially misses the point. Even if you’re suspicious of the depth of these companies’ environmental conversions, their statements and actions indicate a meaningful shift in the mainstream discourse.

So if Walmart isn’t exactly driving the environmental agenda, hopefully it is at least acting as a bellwether.

Which is why I’m a little surprised about one event that didn’t make Friend’s list: George Bush’s State of the Union declaration that “America is addicted to oil.” Regardless of whether Bush is a friend to the environment, this sort of bald statement provides political cover to those with a more aggressive environmental agenda.

The needle is moving on mainstream discourse over global warming and its solutions. A tipping point, whether now or in the near future, is inevitable. The main question is whether it will come soon enough.

Hastening that tipping point is really the ultimate measure of success for TerraPass and our members.

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adam

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  1. Gil Friend - July 2, 2006

    You’re absolutely right. Should have been on the list. Not that it was original with Bush, of course — Kurt Vonnegut did a much classier riff on oil addiction back in the 1980s — but the fact that he put that statement up on the boards — regardless of his substantive intentions — yes, was another market. I just missed it (my only excuse being that he said it at the beginning of he year, and I wrote my piece at the end of the year… and just forgot.

    So it goes.