Sep 02 2008

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Thinking Big about Clean Energy

Posted at 3:23 pm under Blog Post

A few months back, after taking a long hard look at retirement with my wife, Judy, I started investing in the stock market. I’m addressing this matter woefully late in life, I realize, but better late than never. At any rate, I looked around for places to put the meager sum I’d scraped together and soon found myself researching alternative energy companies.

I focused on “clean tech” companies for two obvious reasons: first because the recent jump in the price of oil means this sector will soon be on the fast track, and secondly because renewable energy is a good thing – something the world desperately needs. A book called Green Investing, written by Jack Uldrich, turned out to be a great place to start.

Come to find out, there are companies all over the world, both private and public, working hard to provide us with wind, solar, tidal, geothermal power and more. We’ve come a long way from the days when renewable energy was some pie-in-the-sky notion entertained only by hippies and other social outcasts. On the business television channel CNBC, as well as in investment periodicals, there is much talk about Big Solar, as if it might someday rival Big Oil. I take this as a good omen – a sure sign that renewable energy’s day has finally come.

Now I know what all you Greenies out there are thinking. I use words like “business” and “big” in the same sentence and you write me off as yet another nature lover gone over to the enemy. You still believe that anything associated with Corporate America is patently evil and that good things come only from people organizing at the grassroots level – from people who work the earth with their own two hands and those who support them. But the world needs power and lots of it. If big corporations don’t provide clean energy on a grand scale, who will?

Back in the 70s, I read Schumacher’s book on appropriate technology, Small Is Beautiful, and was greatly moved by it. But socioeconomic forces are moving towards globalization faster now than they ever have – towards the very big and very integrated. To think we can reverse these forces is sheer folly. The best we can do is to channelize them. And if we do so correctly then maybe, just maybe, we can prevent this beautiful planet of ours from burning up. So I’m all for Big Solar and whatever else it takes to quit fossil fuels once and for all.

At long last, we have a real chance to change the way we live. The trick is to look beyond old-fashioned, short-term, parochial solutions and embrace innovations that work on a grand scale. So think big about clean energy, I say. Only then can we reverse global warming and tap the clean, inexpensive, long-lasting sources of power necessary to make us all happier and more prosperous. The future can be very green if we want it to be.

One response so far

One Response to “Thinking Big about Clean Energy”

  1. Ron Robinson 03 Sep 2008 at 9:46 am 1

    You make some great points!

    Yes, until the problem of climate change abates, investing in ways to both combat and accommodate it will flourish. However, discerning what will be successful among them is another matter!

    For your information, I’ve been following green-ethical investing for around forty years and have a website which uniquely covers all the latest global green and ethical investing news at

    Best wishes, Ron Robins