The Dow Jones plunged yet again this week, amidst European economic turmoil and doubts that the American political system can get its act together in getting the unemployed back to work. All the while, the green energy movement sits idly by and thousands, perhaps millions of hours of labor involved in that process goes uncompleted.
The Great Depression was solved by the massive stimulus that was World War Two. In a world where we’re fortunate enough to avoid major warfare, we need a similar call to action. Updating the country to meet the energy efficiency requirements of tomorrow can be that call to action.
It wouldn’t just be the few hundred thousand men and women with the luck of getting put to work building energy-efficient buildings and tearing down the old ones. Such action creates an enormous engine of environmentally-conscious industry: for every five workers on-site, a dozen may be put to work manufacturing the energy efficient building materials essential for construction. But it wouldn’t just be on construction. New modes of transportation must be developed to proactively wean us off fossil fuels, and even eco-friendly clothing is set to become a fast-growing industry of the future.
With that said, there’s an enormous amount of upfront investment that has to go into these transitions. In an economy such as ours, the majority of power brokers in the private sector want little to do with big down payments that don’t come with security.
The government would be an ideal solution to this problem, but the toxicity in our nation’s capitol once the words “government spending” are emitted is too potent to overcome. Despite this, President Obama is pushing a jobs act that will put millions to work fixing bridges and roads and updating additional infrastructure, which is sure to inspire industries to invest environmentally-friendly solutions. However, experts and analysts give Obama’s plan little chance of becoming law.
The only viable solution seems to be in the actions of those on the bottom rungs of business. While there’s no hope in counting on low-level entrepreneurs with limited funds to accomplish the massive objectives laid before our industries when it comes to energy efficiency and eco-friendliness, these individuals and institutions can pave the way. They can start by paying people to get to work on eco-friendly solutions to our big problems.