Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Environment drives innovation

I could ponder as to whether the Governator would be so pro-environment if he hadn’t been smacked around so badly during his “special election” last year and happens to be up for election this year… but that would be unkind.

But people have been asking if this current trend and interest in environmental technologies is real and sustainable, and I think this law helps show that it is. I see the environmental technologies (ETs) movement really begin to fire on all cylinders now.

Yes, gas is expensive and the thought it, that if it drops, so too would interest in ETs. And if gas prices were the only driver of ET interest, then that would be true.

But fortunately they aren’t.

If the killer hurricanes of last year, the disappearing icecaps of the past several years and the current torrent of rain being dumped on Silicon Valley right now indicate anything, it is that weather patterns are changing and we need to be concerned about that. So enlightened thinkers and consumers are increasingly being interest in ETs, cost of gas be damned.

And then there is my favorite trend. It is that the painfully false and the entirely invented conflict of “good for the environment” vs “good for the economy” is being broken down and cast aside. Good for the environment IS good for the economy. Not only do we save money in health costs, disaster costs, and general clean-up efforts, good for the environment is driving a whole new wave of investment and innovation.

Toyota and the Prius prove that consumers will reward environmentally innovative companies, and centers of such environmental innovation will thrive and as different centers (Silicon Valley, Shanghai, Bangalore, Tel Aviv) compete with each other.

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