The controversy over the New Green Deal is really just a paradigm shift. We are moving into a new way of thinking about our relationship to nature. The old 20th century paradigm is one of competition and confrontation. The new paradigm is cooperation and reunification with our natural heritage. The old way dies hard however and the resistance to change is strong in those over thirty. I am reminded of the last paradigm shift in the 60’s “Don’t trust anyone over thirty”. Young people are more concerned about global climate issues than are the over thirty crowd, and like in the 60’s, the young people are right about this. Our global community needs to do something dynamic and effective about the run away climate problems. Our thinking patterns and behavior models must change if we are to resolve or at the very least minimize the damage human activity is doing to the planet. We need new and dynamic ideas that are simple, inexpensive, effective and unifying.
Last Saturday I attended a conference of the Watershed Stewards Academy in Pasadena, Maryland. There were many excellent business’ and organizations offering products and services that seek to clean up water pollution and restore the natural ecology of the Chesapeake Bay. The sessions were interesting and informative but they lacked the sense of urgency that young people are feeling about climate change. The established bay clean-up community only appeals to a small group of committed and sincere people, but the need for a unifying solution, that can grow globally in 12 short years seems a pipe dream to most.
One session, conducted at one exhibit, showed promise. The session was about Rain Barrels. A most mundane topic you would think but this was different. It turns out that Rain Barrels have tons of potential for shifting the paradigm of global warming. Rain Barrels are very meaningful. They filter and clean water, They hydrate plants that absorb carbon from the atmosphere. They promote the restoration of native plants and animals. They harvest free water. They improve property values. They reduce taxes. They do all this but they also have the potential to form the foundation for a profitable enterprise. A business with the sole purpose of cleaning up pollution while reducing the carbon footprint of its customers. This business model will allow the subscribers to become shareholders and benefit, as the business grows, through dividends and stock appreciation.
The present solutions to environmental problems are governed by the old 20th century paradigm. Technology and Engineering and government oversight is good enough. But this approach is not good enough because it is designed to treat the symptoms of the problem and ignores the true malady. The true source of environmental problems is our individual habits and prejudices and apathy and our failure to take responsibility for our own tiny contribution to the problem.
Any solution, that is to succeed, will unite us in a global effort. Conservation, practiced through the use of rain barrels, transcends many societal divides. A business model that is built on a rain barrel foundation will find converts from many
diverse communities. Such a model will satisfy the needs of both conservative and progressive persuasions and everything in between. Rain Barrels are simple, inexpensive, meaningful, effective and profitable. These are powerful incentives when harnessed. Such a phenomenon could truly make a difference.
The ‘Powers that Be’ could do themselves a favor by taking a serious look at a rain barrel based business model to change the global paradigm from one of passive containment to one of active genuine involvement of just about everyone.
The author is an Environmentalist, an Entrepreneur, a Master Watershed Steward, and the author of ‘Bay Clean-up must turn to Business Model to get beyond C-‘.
Wm. Mitchell, 920 Barnegat Lane, Annapolis, MD 21401 (703-628-0927)