Sunday, March 8, 2009

Growth Model is Unsustainable Ponzi Scheme

Thomas Friedman in NY Times today- The Inflection is Near?

What if the crisis of 2008 represents something much more fundamental than a deep recession? What if it’s telling us that the whole growth model we created over the last 50 years is simply unsustainable economically and ecologically and that 2008 was when we hit the wall — when Mother Nature and the market both said: “No more.”

"Crisis is Opportunity" and young people in my class at RPI are working to change the present model. Some of their innovations include:
  • Affordable method of providing safe drinking water for billions of people around the world.
  • Inexpensive way to eliminate 20% of the mercury pollution in the world, caused by artisinal gold miners in countries like Brazil. We all suffer from this pollution.
  • New method and device to find and eliminate land mines and other explosives- far less expensive, faster and safer. Finally, we could rid the world of land mines.
Agricultural Waste Plus Mushrooms = Sustainable, Affordable, Better Products
Ecovative Design, was started in 2007, by 2 former students from my class, Inventor's Studio. They continue to make great progress, turning agricultural waste material into useful, biodegradable products, that cost less and are far better in every way. And their work has gained support from numerous agencies including EPA, NYSERDA and Picnic Green Challenge- they won 500,000 Euros in November, first prize. Watch Eben Bayer's presentation. (Full Disclosure: I am an investor in Ecovative Design.)

These bright, motivated young engineers are passionate about making a real difference in the world, especially for the people with the greatest need. And the work that they are doing promises benefits for all. They are changing the model that relies on ever increasing consumption, to one that is based on addressing the most basic needs, in a sustainable way, that protects Mother Nature, creates new jobs for themselves and others around the world and makes life BETTER for everyone. I am so proud of them. They make me optimistic that we can successfully change the present Growth/Business Model. Let's all support this type of thinking and action.