Guest Speaker

The Green Party’s Over

Vive la Revolution

By Alexis Rehrmann March 9, 2009

Thomas Friedman, the New York Times foreign affairs columnist and author of Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution—And How it Can Renew America spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at the PSU gym this afternoon.

Go Green, Vikings, Go Green!

I am not going to distill Mr. Friedman’s point of view into a quippy blog post; I’m pretty sure that’s been roundly covered. Here, though, are the three coolest things that I heard:

1) Optimism: Form of Global Warming!

It takes a sober world and a talented speaker to make me leave a talk about global climate change feeling optimistic. Mr. Friedman brings the optimism of action: End [INSERT INCREDIBLY COMPLEX GLOBAL ISSUE HERE] Now!

Phew, I feel better already.

2) Party vs Revolution

We are not seeing a Green Revolution, said Mr. Friedman, it’s a Green Party.

We are largely still in the business of patting our collective selves on the back. We will know that the revolution has begun when energy companies such as ExxonMobil, aren’t jumping blithely on the Green bandwagon, but are instead feeling the pain of the old green thumbscrews. Their squawks of protest will tell us when real change is upon us.

3) Commodity vs Technology

I am not a student of economics. I was, until recently, not really a student of balancing my own checkbook. (Amazing what a touch of economic downturn can do for personal growth, isn’t it?) So this li’l tidbit was amazing to me.

I’m going to recreate the explanation simply, because that’s how I can understand it—if you can one-up me, by all means please jump on in.

Our current energy comes from commodities, oil, coal, etc, as the demand for commodities goes up so does the price of commodities. For example: Gold. Diamonds. Cookies.

New clean energy will come from technology powered by wind, sun, geo-thermal, as demand for technology goes up the price of technology goes down. Remember when VCR players were really expensive? Same idea applies here.

But, that changes… everything? Doesn’t it?

If you missed Mr. Friedman, there is more opportunity to get your global civic dialogue on tonight at the Schnitz. Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN’s international affairs program and editor of Newsweek International is speaking on power and politics.

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