Saturday, March 15, 2008

Going Green - The new hoopla for economic growth

I just read Leslie Carlson's post on Blue Oregon titled -A green economy leaves no one behind. I cannot help but be cynical and glum about the statements made by these visionaries that include politicians, writers, press and environmentalists who have taken the idea of going green as the next big economic revolution. I agree and support the idea of using renewable energy and reducing pollution around the world. But this vision that somehow it will uplift the economically disadvantaged is flawed and reckless distraction from the very real and important issue of Education.

Lets face it, without a good education system, that generates highly educated and skilled labor force, without a well funded school and university system, that keeps the best and brightest in the state, Oregon will continue to handout tax breaks to attract industry and continue to damage its education system. It will churn out more economically disadvantaged people who love the environment, but live paycheck to paycheck.

What does going green have anything to do with being a minority in the Portland metro area or any area for the matter. Does the minority emit any more pollution or live in worse polluted area? I am a "minority" with severe asthma and live in one of those "low" asthma case neighborhoods. My asthma has nothing to do with any more or any less pollution.

I agree, going solar will be an amazing transformation. But going solar in this country is too darn expensive. So its going to take some time to get costs down and wider presence. I was looking at the small solar setup at my kids school in west hills. It serves a small portion of their power needs, but it was expensive to setup.

This vision that going green is going to somehow create this massive uplift in the "economically disadvantaged" group of minorities is flawed. Better education is going to drive the economically disadvantaged to a better living - whether they are white, black, brown blue, green or any combination of races, colors creed. I don't care for these percentages. I can point to remote regions in the south and Midwest that are predominantly white, with no economic advantage other than limited government handouts that thrive on drugs. Putting solar panels on their roof-tops will not create economic advantage. Its not going to bring the revolution that's necessary to make a significant impact. Our dependence on oil is not going to subside that easily. Get the economically disadvantage access to the same education that is available to advantaged and you will see real transformation.

So all you politicians, advocates and activists - think for a moment what really got you where you are today. Think about the root cause of economic disadvantage and look at areas that are economically advantaged and how they got there in the first place. Its education stupid! PLEASE PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOU MOUTH IS!

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