Debate often amongst environmentalists whether capitalism and moderate environmentalism is the best way to save our planet.
Afterall, after the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, debate has brought climate change into the focus of the public eye. It’s aftermath is expected to top US$50 billion dollars.
But should environmentalists take a more direct action path, tearing down a capitalist system whose flaws have done severe damage on the ecosystem? Or should environmentalists take a more modest route in 2012, heading into 2013? A route of innovation, enterprise to solve some of our problems?
Anti-capitalists argue limiting economic growth, riding bicycles, walking and planting urban gardens. Proponents like Naomi Klein, and Green Illusions author Ozzie Zehner argue for such radical ideas of smashing the capitalist system.
Definitely, they have a case for this. Externalities of treating the Earth’s eco-system like a sewer helped to push carbon emissions to its highest level ever in 2011 at 390.9 parts per million. With shrinking natural resources its understandable to have an anti-capitalist fit.
However, with a population of approaching nine billion people in 2050. Add the upward trend of the emerging market middle class, along with close to one-quarter of the global population with no electricity makes it hard to argue for anti-capitalist ideas.
Afterall, capitalism has helped to create prosperity to a globalized world. Emerging market countries continue to move out of the poverty trap. The Internet and the World Wide Web, through entrepreneurship has helped create innovative business opportunities unheard of thirty years ago. Mobile phones are leapfrogging older, and outdated telecommunications technologies in poorer countries to lift those out of poverty.
Capitalism can solve the environmental problem. We are seeing some really neat sustainability ideas going on across the globe thanks to green capitalism:
Sungevity, a US solar company, thanks to fusing information technology, solar energy, along with ground breaking financing is making it for more lower to middle class citizens in the US afford clean, renewable energy.
Nissan, with the Nissan Leaf is an electric hybrid car that runs on zero emissions, and was ranked the most fuel-efficient car in its class in 2012.
General Electric in September of 2012 installed it’s 300th wind turbine in Brazil, helping to shore up it’s installed wind capacity of 1,500 mega-watts.
These are just some of the global examples seen in renewable energy and clean technology as it becomes a more popular choice.
In 2011, global investments in renewable energy were $257 billion, an increase from 2010 of $211 billion. Meanwhile, Renewable energy investment in 2010 surpassed fossil fuels for the first time.
Green capitalism is the way to go. An anti-capitalism approach will not work. From Richard Branson and Al Gore all agree this is the best system. Why go back to a feudal style?
As Bill Clinton said “It’s the economy, stupid.”