Hi folks — just an update about me. Last Thursday was my last day as a full-time reporter at the Toronto Star. I will continue to write my weekly Clean Break column for the paper, but I decided to leave my day-to-day duties to pursue a number of personal projects, including writing a book on energy innovation. The Star has been good to me. It allowed me to focus on clean technology and green energy coverage years before it grabbed mainstream attention, and it let me launch a column five years ago that was dedicated to the cleantech/green energy space. In fact, the Cleantech Group recognized my column as the first mainstream newspaper column in North America dedicated to clean technology coverage.
That column, as I said, will continue. This blog will continue — in fact, I plan to post here more frequently. The only difference is that I now have more flexibility to pursue other projects and to become a more effective champion for clean technology innovation, demonstration and adoption. There’s a structural transition going on right now in the global economy — a move toward low-carbon energy sources, energy efficiency, waste and pollution reduction, and electrification of transportation. I want to do more to help influence public policy and corporate decision making, with an aim to speeding up this transition; I want to encourage and cheerlead for the innovators out there looking for solutions to our energy and environmental crises.
We’re already facing intense resistance to this change. In Canada, the federal government is failing us by refusing to act with urgency. In fact, what clean technology/energy programs we have are now being dismantled at a time when they should be strengthened and expanded. Now more than ever there is a need to champion the cause.
I leave you with this quote from U.S. President Barack Obama when he spoke last October at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:
… I think it’s important to understand that the closer we get, the harder the opposition will fight and the more we’ll hear from those whose interest or ideology run counter to the much needed action that we’re engaged in. There are those who will suggest that moving toward clean energy will destroy our economy — when it’s the system we currently have that endangers our prosperity and prevents us from creating millions of new jobs. There are going to be those who cynically claim — make cynical claims that contradict the overwhelming scientific evidence when it comes to climate change, claims whose only purpose is to defeat or delay the change that we know is necessary.
So we’re going to have to work on those folks. But understand there’s also another myth that we have to dispel, and this one is far more dangerous because we’re all somewhat complicit in it. It’s far more dangerous than any attack made by those who wish to stand in the way progress — and that’s the idea that there is nothing or little that we can do. It’s pessimism. It’s the pessimistic notion that our politics are too broken and our people too unwilling to make hard choices for us to actually deal with this energy issue that we’re facing. And implicit in this argument is the sense that somehow we’ve lost something important — that fighting American spirit, that willingness to tackle hard challenges, that determination to see those challenges to the end, that we can solve problems, that we can act collectively, that somehow that is something of the past.
I reject that argument.
I reject it, too.