The Dernogalizer

January 22, 2009

Solutions from the Green Economy

Filed under: Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 7:16 pm
Tags: , ,

A green non-profit group called Green America has proposed a number of fixes for the economic troubles which I very intelligent and in my opinion exactly what the country should be doing.  I think these suggestions would provide sustainable and just economic growth, and I wanted to repost the short and sweet version of their ideas below, and also to provide this link for great elaboration on each point they make.  Enjoy!


Solutions from the Green Economy
January 15, 2008

Green economyEveryone now understands that the economy is broken.

While many name the mortgage and credit-default-swap crises as culprits, they are only the most recent indicators of an economy with fatal design flaws. Our economy has long been based on what economist Herman Daly calls “uneconomic growth” where increases in the GDP come at an expense in resources and well-being that is worth more than the goods and services provided.  When GNP growth exacerbates social and environmental problems—from sweatshop labor to manufacturing toxic chemicals—every dollar of GNP growth reduces well-being for people and the planet, and we’re all worse off.

Our fatally flawed economy creates economic injustice, poverty, and environmental crises. It doesn’t have to be that way. We can create a green economy: one that serves people and the planet and offers antidotes to the current breakdown.
Here are six green-economy solutions to today’s economic mess.

1. Green Energy—Green Jobs
A crucial starting place to rejuvenate our economy is to focus on energy. It’s time to call in the superheroes of the green energy revolution—energy efficiency, solar and wind power, and plug-in hybrids—and put their synergies to work with rapid, large-scale deployment. This is a powerful way to jumpstart the economy, spur job creation (with jobs that can’t be outsourced), declare energy independence, and claim victory over the climate crisis.

2. Clean Energy Victory Bonds
How are we going to pay for this green energy revolution? We at Green America propose Clean Energy Victory Bonds. Modeled after victory bonds in World War II, Americans would buy these bonds from the federal government to invest in large-scale deployment of green energy projects, with particular emphasis in low-income communities hardest hit by the broken economy. These would be long-term bonds, paying an annual interest rate, based in part on the energy and energy savings that the bonds generate. During WWII, 85 million Americans bought over $185 billion in bonds—that would be almost $2 trillion in today’s dollars.

3. Reduce, Reuse, Rethink
Living lightly on the Earth, saving resources and money, and sharing (jobs, property, ideas, and opportunities) are crucial principles for restructuring our economy. This economic breakdown is, in part, due to living beyond our means—as a nation and as individuals. With the enormous national and consumer debt weighing us down, we won’t be able to spend our way out of this economic problem. Ultimately, we need an economy that’s not dependent on unsustainable growth and consumerism. So it’s time to rethink our over-consumptive lifestyles, and turn to the principles of elegant simplicity, such as planting gardens, conserving energy, and working cooperatively with our neighbors to share resources and build resilient communities.

4. Go Green and Local
When we do buy, it is essential that those purchases benefit the green and local economy—so that every dollar helps solve social and environmental problems, not create them. Our spending choices matter. We can support our local communities by moving dollars away from conventional agribusiness and big-box stores and toward supporting local workers, businesses, and organic farmers.

5. Community Investing
All over the country, community investing banks, credit unions, and loan funds that serve hard-hit communities are strong, while the biggest banks required bailouts. The basic principles of community investing keep such institutions strong: Lenders and borrowers know each other. Lenders invest in the success of their borrowers—with training and technical assistance along with loans. And the people who provide the capital to the lenders expect reasonable, not speculative, returns. If all banks followed these principles, the economy wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in today.

6. Shareowner Activism
When you own stock, you have the right and responsibility to advise management to clean up its act. Had GM listened to shareholders warning that relying on SUVs would be its downfall, it would have invested in greener technologies, and would not have needed a bailout. Had CitiGroup listened to its shareowners, it would have avoided the faulty mortgage practices that brought it to its knees. Engaged shareholders are key to reforming conventional companies for the transition to this new economy – the green economy that we are building together.

It’s time to move from greed to green.

–Alisa Gravitz


  1. Interesting concept, Matt. Quick question/concern…how will the metropolitan areas such as New York and L.A. be able to sustain themselves under this concept?

    Comment by Gene — January 23, 2009 @ 6:38 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks for the comment Gene, can you elaborate on what part of the concept you think would make the metropolitan areas struggle?

    Comment by Matt Dernoga — January 23, 2009 @ 8:19 pm | Reply

  3. Sure thing, Matt. I was referring to concepts 3 and 4. The metropolitan areas are very dependent on machinery and industrial systems. I think both you and I agree that these concepts can’t work everywhere especially in the areas I mentioned in my last post. There is no feasible way now for those areas to be able to grow their own produce and sustain themselves locally through agriculture. I am by no means an expert on the topic. That is why I raised the point. As far as I can see, it would be very difficult if not impossible to change the infrastructure of those areas unless you massively change the landscape of those areas which may or may not have some adverse affects on out nation. If there is an idea or solution for those areas, it may be nice if you could post a link to it or do a follow up posting.

    Comment by Gene — January 25, 2009 @ 12:23 am | Reply

  4. […] cross post I did for a nonprofit Green America titled ” Solutions to a Green Economy” (see here) which proposed how we can promote more sustainable economic growth and sustainable living at the […]

    Pingback by Follow up to “Solutions to a Green Economy” « The Dernogalizer — January 25, 2009 @ 1:18 am | Reply

  5. Here’s a follow up posting in case you’re interested

    Comment by Matt Dernoga — January 25, 2009 @ 1:18 am | Reply

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