Clean Energy: How to Change the Culture of Shirking

Photographer Karen Hanrahan
Wind turbines, electric cars, vertical farming, carbon sequestration — the Internet is drowning in technology-centered conversations about what it’ll take to heal the planet. There’s a lot of information, and a lot of it is conflicting. But the main question rising to the surface has less to do with our technologies than with our collective consciousness. People can’t picture how it will happen.
As a global society, how do we move toward cleaner energy? We are not talking about the wants of a few countries, not a few radicalized citizen groups or NGOs. I mean everyone. It seems we’ve created a culture of shirking on the topic. 

In 2013, global needs will be clarified. Then companies, consumers, and civic leaders can take meaningful action.
I know what you’re thinking.
Is there enough time? Will politicians step up? Are electric cars really practical? Will big oil play ball? Are consumers ready to trade convenience for long-term sustainability? Renewable energy debates bring about textbook negativity. The magnitude of the challenge has created a failure in imagination. Yet, the economics seem so promising. Many economists agree that moving to cleaner energy and more sustainable systems will create jobs—something nearly every country save China is desperate to do. 

Scientists forecast that 95% renewable energy is achievable by 2050. We possess the know-how.  

Now what?

The answer involves a mix of consumer engagement and political commitment. And the most inspiring element is the critical role marketing will play in changing the mindset—bringing people from a confused lack of purpose, to practical can-do spirit—as we market new eco-friendly products and services.

For more on this and other breakthrough trends, check out our new forecast report: 13 Things Breaking Through in 2013.