Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day - Looking Ahead

Amory Lovins, the very influential Chief Scientist at Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), heads up a non-profit that has established leadership in shifting the global economic model to "soft path" restoration of natural systems. Their commitment is to "drive the efficient and restorative use of resources to create a world that is thriving, verdant, and secure, for all, for ever." They take pause on this Earth Day, and look to further partnering with industry and innovative development in a way that changes how our country produces and consumes energy. The explanation of this thrust is as follows:

RMI’s Next Big Thing will bring together all of our 27 years of innovation and engage the world in our most ambitious and important work yet. Put simply, this effort is aimed at changing the way most people have been getting and using energy since the Industrial Revolution.With this project, we want to set in motion a movement to end the increasingly dangerous practice of digging up fossil fuels formed hundreds of millions of years ago from primeval swamp goo, then wastefully burning these fuels to form carbon dioxide that recreates those swamps’ tropical climate.

We will extend from oil to all fossil fuels our experience in envisioning and catalyzing energy systems that, in our Trustee Ray C. Anderson’s words, take nothing, waste nothing, and do no harm. We mean to speed the transformation from pervasive waste to elegant frugality, from causing scarcity by inattention to creating abundance by design, from liquidating energy capital to living better on energy income.

In short, we are Reinventing Fire™: driving the business-led transition from oil, coal, and ultimately gas to efficiency and renewables. This fire in our belly will engage all of RMI’s 88 staff, our global network of colleagues and supporters, and new advisors and partners from the private and public sectors.
Reinventing Fire aims to change minds and clarify choices by showing what exists, what works, what makes sense and makes money, what can change the world.

Most importantly, the four principles of Natural Capitalism are outlined as part of the strategy for change:

Radical resource productivity
Service and flow economy
Reinvestment in natural capital

These provide valuable benchmarks for all efforts at true sustainability, which have to measure the results of this kind of change. This is the path that the future needs to take, and so need to be part of public policy at all levels.