If we’re to believe the political pundits and analysts, America lags behind the world when it comes to sustainable leadership. Forget GDP and R&D ratios, today’s uninspiring political landscape and all other assorted discouraging notions. We have some good news to share.
American Ingenuity is thriving and that’s a fact that is simply inspiring.
At Green X Prize, our latest $10,000 Innovation Winner had a tough act to follow. Michael Koh of San Francisco had dazzled us with Tree to Tub, ‘Changing the Way We Clean with Nature’s Soap’ with the remarkable, green and sustainable Soap Berry. We all loved it.
Miles Louis, a devoted cyclist from Massachusetts wasn’t deterred.
His project, Bicycles from Nature, reflects the vision of using bamboo to create an all new, inexpensive yet sustainable mode of transportation. His creation can be efficiently and sustainably produced on the East Coast, as an answer to transportation problems in some of the world’s most crowded urban areas.
Miles proves that not only is what’s old new again, it’s sustainable, too.
Updating techniques that go back nearly two centuries, the brilliance here is that bamboo is easy to source and grow, and remarkably durable for its tensile strength and remarkable shock absorption properties. Little wonder that bamboo as a ‘rediscovered’ construction resource is making a comeback. His goal is to bring the system forward and allow it to become mainstream and part of our everyday lives.
We couldn’t be prouder of these two projects. Both point to American Ingenuity at its best. We shouldn’t be surprised, because the United States historically has led with way with game-changing and category redefining innovation.
In recent years, think Uber, Tesla and lately our own Green X Prize. All our efforts and investment in creating a place where sustainable ideas are discussed, voted up and down, rewarded and the worthiest projects exposed to like-minded investors is our reward for brilliant innovation like this.
Bold vision matters, and it matters today more than ever. We encourage operating within the spirit of law where innovation, capitalism and sustainability thrive. We urge resistance to the legal narrowing of vision when it imposes stagnation, environmental abuse and lack of central, cohesive, social responsible economic planning.
Fully harvesting opportunity should rely upon a higher pursuit and adherence to ethical principles, not just profit. For all our flaws, America should lead.
Sustainability is a new inalienable right. As noted in our foundational memoir Go Green, Get Rich, Jacques Cousteau himself saw water through this lens when he said: “We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.”
As we move forward technologically, these rights all must be reconsidered and reapplied, not distorted, abused or forgotten. Too much is at stake.
Don’t pay attention to the too-often fatally-biased political rhetoric, typically slanted and flawed when it comes to alternative energy. It’s happening everywhere, and happily in many places we’d least expect to find it.
Few states are redder and more fossil-fuel friendly than Texas, but Texas has embraced it. The proof is that they’ve installed more wind turbines and solar panels than the bluest of states.
What this means is American entrepreneurial spirit offers unparalleled opportunity to do what we do best, tipping the scales towards economic freedom and accelerating growth in sustainability as no other nation can.
We talked about the Diplomatic Conundrum in Go Green, Get Rich, and that ongoing threat can’t be ignored. We must think globally, and we’ll always have to contend with political rhetoric, terrorism, inequities of wealth and more, but the shift towards a Green Economy is real and it’s right. And it’s also underway. Properly nurtured and executed it will save us and it’s so American in its ingenuity and desire to find a better way for all of us.
A great example of this is how people and companies can make a difference and overcome national political missteps like the US withdrawal from the Paris Accord. Michael and Miles are outstanding examples of how individuals and corporate giants like Tesla are working hard every day to make-up for shortfalls of failed political leaders.
Equally as disconcerting is the Political Conundrum.
We sell ourselves short if we allow ourselves to be guided by self-centered self-interest that respect only money and power. It may shield individuals and families temporarily, but it can’t protect us indefinitely and surely won’t preserve the planet.
We must examine our values and aspire to our better natures, not our basest natures. From sensible gun laws to fair and honest foreign policy to fair-minded tax policy and proper, sustainable, green standards around the world.
Beyond politicians and power brokers, that requires the best of us from the rest of us.
Adversity has always brought out our best.
It will again.
Thanks for reading and please visit us at www.greenxprize.com.
The Green X Prize Team
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