Southeast Missouri State University

Energizing the Green Economy

John Casebolt

Can we have our cake and eat it too? When it comes to choosing between the environment and the economy, I say yes. The idea that being environmentally conscious is too expensive and damaging to the economy is misleading. Over the past 12 months Americans realized that everyone pays for energy, especially at the pump. As Carol Browner, the new Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, stated in an interview with the Washington Post, “We are not talking about not driving cars. We are talking about driving different cars.” Right now in America, automobile sales are down and the Big Three automakers are struggling to survive. At the same time, Tesla Motors is producing an all-electric sports car with a waiting list of over 1000 customers. You really should see this, it is NOT a nerdy little put-put-mobile that no one would want to drive. The chassis is built by Lotus and it goes from 0-60 in under 4 seconds.

My other favorite eco-friendly ride is the Opel Eco. I first saw it on the Discovery Channel’s Future Car show. This little dream car has a top speed of 155 mph, and at 140 mph, it averaged 113 miles/gallon. Unfortunately it is not in production. I would point out that Opel is a subsidiary of General Motors in Europe. Maybe we should e-mail GM and tell them we want this car in the United States! While the price of new technology is high, with increased production, it will come down. I am old enough to remember the first VCR’s and bag phones. Compare those items to today’s standard Blueray player or iPhone and you can understand the rapid pace of technological advancement.

Here at the Global Strategy Institute we are studying trends in technology and resource management. They are two of the 7 Revolutions shaping the world we live in. The problem isn’t a lack of desire to save money; it is a lack of knowledge in how to do it. We have the technology to save energy, and therefore, save money. It just happens to work out that we have the ability to save the planet at the same time.

For most Americans, our homes and our automobiles are the largest source of our personal energy consumption. This leads to the question, what can I do to cut down my energy usage? In today’s Washington Post, Jura Koncius confessed in her article “I Need an Energy Audit, Stat!” that her home required energy improvements. As homeowners in DC, she and her husband were able to get a free energy audit administered by the District Department of the Environment’s Home Energy Rating System program. Value: about $300. For those of us who don’t live in DC, we can visit the Department of Energy website to find ways to save energy in our own homes and our automobiles.