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My Future in Renewable Energy

Since October of 2007, I have been involved in a green marketing campaign. My passion lies in creating and using technology to solve problems, but after graduating from UC Berkeley, I decided that it would be an important first step to understand how people perceive environmental problems and how to reach them with solutions. My focus over the last two years developing and marketing an internet startup and a green marketing campaign has brought me to a point where I feel confident that I have developed a solid core of marketing knowledge and experience.

Now I find myself considering the future of the United States, and what I see are two possible scenarios:

  1. Maintain the status-quo:
    We as a nation proceed in the same direction we have been for decades now, and continue to be a nation focused on irresponsibly mass-consuming, and relying on foreign sources of oil. Given that the marginal cost of extracting additional quantities of fossil fuels will continue to climb along with global demand, this scenario results in the United States and its citizens essentially going bankrupt. We are already seeing the first signs of this scenario manifest in rising energy and product prices. If this happens, pretty much any career path has a dismal future, and we will find ourselves scrambling desperately to keep the country running.

  2. Become energy-independent:
    It is no mystery that the American lifestyle is highly dependent on oil - in the united States, we consume the energy equivalent of 8 tons of oil per person per year, while countries like Japan use about half that amount, and Peruvians use just 1/16th what the average US citizen does (Earthtrends). Every day, we import about 13 million of the 21 million barrels of the oil we consume, and at current prices a basic calculation shows we are sending about (13,000,000 barrels * $130/barrell) = $1,690,000,000 dollars abroad each day (CIA world fact book)!
  3. Beyond the pure insanity of how much money we are sending away, using oil contributes to a whole host of environmental problems, not the least of which is global climate change. So in this scenario, we wake up as a country, and elect leaders with the vision and determination to make the United States energy independent. In this future, developing renewable sources of energy like solar and wind become the major drivers of our economy. We simplify our lives and come to realize that we can live great lives without buying and consuming endlessly. I don’t know about you, but this future sounds pretty good, and full of opportunity.

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Nick Harris
posted June 20, 2008 3:40 PM