Back in 2005, TreeHugger.com created a post called “14 Things People Will Do When They Realize Climate Change is Real.” It is an amazing read that I am sure was made to be half joke and half serious unfortunately most of the predictions have come true. Below is the list with my analysis:
1. TreeHuggers get on the radical efficiency message and stay on it, forcing public officials to take seriously the “Soft Path” of Amory Lovins, et al. Multiple industry lobbies come to realize that this route is better for them than any other “one off” solution that targets only a single technology. People get behind it because it keeps jobs at home. We are not totally there with the made in the USA part of this point but we are starting to realize that buying locally is better for the environment. I think this has only started to be applied towards food in the mainstream.
2. Millions of people get really interested in Green Building. TreeHuggers get appointed to planning commissions and zoning boards, looking for off-the-web opportunities to promote it’s resource efficiencies and attractive comforts. I have personally seen this in my town. They are working on a redevelopment plan and in all the meetings with the community everyone expressed extreeme interest in having the plan include green building requirements. Even one community member researched LEED certification and spoke about it at the meeting, this particular person was not well versed in the in’s and out’s of certification but there happened to be more than one LEED certified architect in the room who could follow up on his points. This is definately starting to be important to towns as they move forward with zoning and community development.
3. Rising demand elevates the price of many eco-efficient products beyond the means of the low income households. This leads to distinct brand segmentation around price and performance. In some ways I agree with this point and in other ways I completely disagree with it. On one hand there are many green options are available to the rich like solar panels that even with tax rebates will cost at least $15,000. But now you can go to Target and Walmart and buy organic cotton t-shirts. organic milk, CFL lightbulbs…etc. that are affordable and available to pretty much everyone.
4. Renewable energy stocks, on average, steadily grow at a far greater pace than even the best fossil fuel companies, leading to an “irrational exhuberance” for alternative energy stocks on the part of Wall Street stalwarts. Solar energy stocks have been growing at a rate that is beating the street but they are highly volatile right now one day they are up big the next day the lost more than they gained in the last two days. Still solar tech stocks are still a good buy (in my eyes anyway) these days.
5. New cults appear that rely on climate change dread for recruitment and fundraising, blaming environmentalists for incurring the wrath of God, while applauding Armageddon. This will be true for any worthwhile effort, issue, catastrophy…etc.
6. Some TreeHuggers sit by, content with scapegoating. I think that there are some hippies from the 70’s sitting there saying I told you so. There are also some “green” middle class people that blame the government or big business for the reason why they have to own an SUV.
7. Voters beg government to “do something”. Consequently, a huge number of hairbrained solutions proliferate from the US Congress. Still kinda waiting to what these hairbrained ideas are but I think they are just waiting till the election is over… I do not doubt that this prediction will come true.
8. US Balance of trade is made more negative as US consumers shop increasingly overseas for the best and most beautiful eco-efficient goods. All can I say to this is Fair Trade… people think it is cool to buy overseas items made by poor people so they can feel good about giving them money… forgetting that there is a middle man and alot of fossil fuels burned to get those goods to you.
9. TreeHugger servers crash under onslaught of site visits. Probably could (or maybe did) happen.
10. Owners symbolically burn their own SUV’s in downtown streets after a brief period of gas shortage. Thankfully this has not happened… think of the environmental pollution from that!!!
11. The difference between political right and political left is blurred by the common interest in environment. “Bad Weather Friends Syndrome” fosters tremendous grass roots communication, collaboration, and organizing. Isn’t there a commerical that shows this, a bunch a polar opposite people saying they are for the environment. I cannot remember what environmental organization it is but they are trying to show that everyone should be for the environment.
12. Extensive top-of-market real estate speculation arises in regions that, long range models predict, will see relatively minor adverse impacts. With the mortgage crisis the way it is right now I am not sure this prediction could come true.
13. Rush of businesses to hire creative TreeHugger-types. I think this may be just begining. Alot of offices are going green, making green statements, and reporting to shareholders their plan to green the business. As all of these plans require employees that can help them create and impliment changes in their business.
14. Increased numbers of sham or badly designed “green products” coming to market. Green washing… I cannot say anymore than that… There is clearly alot of it out there.
Pretty amazing these predictions over 3 years ago. Lets hope that the predictions of the poles melting and water levels rising to high are more exaggerated than these predictions!!!