Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Is Green Disruptive?

The fundamental aspect of "going green" is to create a huge shift in how our behavior impacts planetary ecosystems. It's going to create some large disruptions as the price increases kick in due to the costs of burning oil and coal, the shifts in employment and business practices move faster, and the reversal of living patterns that change the underpinnings of global economics. Climate change and its impact on resources, such as food and water, will bring hefty price tags and create unpredictable events that threaten the stability that financial investments and transactions rely on. So we're in for a wild ride.

The application of technology to solve some of these issues rests in not just the ability to creatively disrupt business and industry and generate new solutions to this problem, but to change the game, and change it rapidly. The speed at which these adaptations to a changing environment move is astonishing, and with these changes riding the whipsaw of social networking we're going to see very dynamic cultural changes in short order. Problem-solving solutions will emerge quickly as the old order falls away, and people's lives shift from physical accretion to information accretion.

Technology can help with this transition if it's used appropriately to create better connections, human environments, and behavioral shifts that are constructive with respect to the human footprint on this planet. It's not just on the ground. NASA earth satellites and other technologies allow us to see our planet and manage our impact on it at a large scale. There's nothing like seeing those images of massive fires, pollution plumes in estuaries, migrating oil slicks, changes in snow and ice packs, the shifting of deserts, to see quickly and accurately how our collective behavior is impacting the planet. This allows us to make effective decisions about how we have to change so as not to decimate the planetary ecosystems as we are doing now.

Most importantly, if we can see, we can achieve consensus far more quickly than the old corrupt political structures could by leveraging the influence of power, religion and money in order to preserve the status quo. The issues will necessarily have to be solved in a global fashion, with the traditional forum structures opened to allow those to sit at the table who did not have a voice before.