Missing The Boat on Green?

July 9, 2007
As all stories have two sides, with the truth lying somewhere near the middle, so too is the green movement beset by fanatical proponents who would ration each man, woman, and child’s toilet paper allotment on the one side, to rabid naysayers who would go out of their way to point out any shortcoming in the green agenda on the other.
I ran across an article about New Zealand property tycoon Sir Robert Jones, and his belief that the sustainable or green building movement is simply put, “a fashionable inanity” and a “fad that will be forgotten in as little as four years.”
My crystal ball is at the cleaners, so I can’t say for sure what the future holds, but I wonder if this will be the defining “missed the boat” moment for Jones.
I’m reminded of several now infamous comments from the early days of computing (courtesy of http://ifaq.wap.org/computers/famousquotes.html):
“Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.”
Popular Mechanics, 1949
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
“I have travelled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processings is a fad that won’t last out the year.”
The editor in charge of business books for Prentice-Hall, 1957
“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of DEC
I wonder if “fashionable inanity” will be added to the list of comments under the heading “Green Movement.”


Related Tags: , ,

Listed below are links to sites that reference Missing The Boat on Green?:

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL:

Comments to Missing The Boat on Green?

  1. Poetry :

    Local, city, county, state and the federal governments should be first to "go green." Politicians should not be elected to public office unless they agree to convert every government building and vehicle to renewable energy. There are at least three reasons why this should be so.

    When all levels of government are taken into account, they control 40% of the economy. With that kind of economic incentive anyone who wants to sell to the government will hasten to meet the demands of its largest single buyer. Government will no longer have to pass laws to enforce cafe standards for instance. Rather the Government will simply tell auto companies, we want to replace our fleet of vehicles but will not buy anything that does get at least 50 mpg if it is gasoline based, or it must be a hybrid, or it must be fueled with renewable fuels.

    Another reason Government should go green first is national security. Part of every oil dollar paid for Middle Eastern oil goes directly into the pocket of terrorists. If we convert to renewable fuels that we control, we defund terrorism and protect ourselves simultaneously.

    Yet another reason to heed Al Gore’s clarion call on global warming is economic security. OPEC can not ruin our economy if we convert to renewable fuels that we control.

    And finally, suppose Gore is right? When anyone hypes anything as much as AL Gore hypes global warming, I have my doubts. But I can’t see what is harmed by going green so why not? The military is doing some research on alternative and renewable energy. Whoever is the next president of the United States should institute a “Go Green or Go Home‎ policy for the military. Those who come up with energy saving devices or methods as well as those who implement alternative or renewable fuels should rise quickly through the ranks. Those who don’t should be encouraged to seek employment elsewhere. As resourceful as marines are, for instance, I would bet they could make surprising advances in fueling everything from jeeps to an entire base through alternative means if left to their own devices. The military has through it’s contractors developed the most effective weapons in the world. If this same level of effort is turned toward greening the military we will be a safer, more secure, and more independent nation. We will create new jobs and industries and the air and water will get cleaner as a benefit.

  1. Samuel Mann :

    I'm not sure if you are a NZ'er, but if you are I'm sure you'll know that Bob Jones is famous for his missing the boat, he's said similar things about technology, sports (except boxing of which he's a fan) and women.

    BTW you might enjoy this paper by Zorn and Collins in which they argue that even if it is a fad, we should use this opportunity to embed sustainability as core practice: http://www.sustainable.org.nz/resource.asp?id=80

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)