Oct 20 2008

Green Economy meeting at UCSD

Published by at 8:11 pm under Green Economy

Dr. Heather  Honea, SDSUI spoke on a panel October 18, 2008 at The Green Economy: Sustainable Economic Solutions for San Diego conference sponsored by United Green at UCSD.  I was particularly impressed with a presentation by Ecological Designer Jim Bell and SDSU professor Heather Honea.

Heather Honea completed her doctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley. Currently, Dr. Honea is an Associate Professor at the San Diego State University College of Business Administration and a Research Fellow at the Centre for Integrated Marketing Communications.  Heather models the impact of green and decentralized technologies on business, society, and consumer behavior.Jim Bell

Jim Bell is an Ecological Designer Jim Bell is an internationally recognized expert on ecologically sustainable development.  As an ecological designer, Jim works with developers, business, and various public and private agencies. and author of ACHIEVING ECO-NOMIC SECURITY ON SPACESHIP EARTH.

They presented a paper on  Electricity Supply and Price Security in San Diego County. It’s not an easy read, but I definitely want to dig deeper into it.  Stay tuned.

During my panel, someone of the audience spoke of the urgency of the situation, saying we needed to take a lesson from the spirit of World War II and declare war on our problems today.   I cringed at this comment, saying that we have declared wars on drugs, poverty, and terrorism and the net effect was to make the problems worse, as well as creating a Problem-Industrial Complex that thrives as the problems deepen and become more professionalized.

I mentioned two examples of transformational change (one successful, one not):  Years ago, I had been a member of a group talking about a Community Health Information Network that was supported by the Mayor’s office.  With a great hoopla at a local shopping center, she announced that we would be an “on ramp to the information superhighway.”  The problem was, she had no funding for the idea, and local hospitals didn’t want to share their “proprietary” information, much less pay the extra cost to share it with their competitors.  The idea didn’t go anywhere; I guess it did provide me some value to be used as a counter example.

The other change happened just recently.  Gas prices spiked to $4/gal and suddenly the market for SUVs and big trucks plummeted.  Mass transit ridership went up, the freeways unclogged, and Ford and GM announced they would pull back from the gas-guzzlers.  Suddenly, everyone did the “right” thing, just out of their own self-interest.

The current financial turmoil has its up sides … folks will be taking a fresh look at just what we need to achieve energy independence, local jobs, and long term success as a civilization.

I don’t see why we have to lower the bar of civilization to “sustainability.”  I want us to thrive, not just keep things as they are.


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