Posted by: COSI | May 21, 2010

Green Today, Green Tomorrow?

There was an extensive series in the Columbus Dispatch this week on green jobs, economy, and future for Ohio.  I found it quite good in capturing some of the breadth, complexities, challenges and hopes that are all involved if you are looking to a fundamental societal shift in how we obtain, use, and conserve energy.

I have this odd mix in my gut, though, of a blend of optimism and hope, and caution.

See, I’ve been there before in the 1970’s.  We had gas lines and rationing and cost equivalent gasoline prices beyond the $4/gallon that seemed to tip the scales in public consciousness and behavior (at least of some).  The societal reflections of our energy use and its challenge were all around us in a way that we’ve yet to see in this era.

And I was one of those getting engaged in the “green” movement and careers.  I dusted off my engineering training and architectural interests and started consulting on solar homes, projects and conservation improvements.  I wrote a syndicated energy column and contributed to books on the topics.  I gave serious consideration to switching careers completely myself rather than doing all that I was around “green” on the side.  I even invested in early solar companies!

Then I saw much of it evaporate as oil prices came down and the forces behind “status quo” started to gain the upper hand.  We lost 30 years of being able to address the changes needed to establish a more sustainable society.

Energy & Environment are one of COSI’s focus areas—because it’s been indicated as the highest priority among our audiences.  We’ve started to invest in programs (like Earth Day activities, Byrd Polar Day) and experience anchors (like Lily Pad the watershed lab and OSU’s sustainable Pod House).  We hosted GE Energy here recently with their wind energy exhibition (topped off with a 131 foot single wind turbine blade!).  All to expand what we can do to help engage and inform the public.

So do you think the interest and concern will stick this time?

What do you think COSI’s role should be in the public understanding and the important dialogues that need to take place in our society?

I’ve been here before and only know for sure what DID NOT work the first time.


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