Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The New Trinity: On Community Building, Sustainability and Green Tech

A lot of talk is going 'round about "sustainability" these days along with "green tech." Already I can see the potential for some confusion, but in their simplest forms, sustainability is a moniker that denotes whether a particular method is able to be readily replenished and ideally environmentally friendly. I say it has a deeper, wider meaning, but that'll be fleshed out below. Green tech is the noun, the thing, whether a hybrid engine, waterless urinals or low wattage light bulbs.

I'm going to go on record here and say that I think we're in the dawn of something. If you noodle enough on the Net you'll see what I mean. There're a couple of caveats...

Sustainability is more than a technology's abilities to replenish - it has to be human as well. It encompasses the revolutionary microlending of Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus and Vinod Khosla who are empowering the lowest of the low economically. Think about it like this; any system as brutal as capitalism in its present incarnation that spurns certain people for whatever reasons (race, gender, socially constructed/specific notions of ugliness, etc etc) and rewards certain others is simply not sustainable. At least theoretically, there has to be an end, because what happens when there are no longer any poor mud peeps to exploit? Then what?

Big question, eh?

The other point that must be made is that this new dawn is not fully fleshed out - again, it must incorporate humans beyond market economics. This time, it means community-building. Enough of this myth of the individual and praying to the mold of "individualism" and all of that myth crap which just serves to benefit the status quo. I mean, so much of that doo-doo on a stick I demystify in my own work with filmmakers but it's perfectly analogous because, whether it's the race to become a millionaire or to be a studio filmmaker, unless you've the connects, it ain't happening. And it's sad that I have to spell it out here, but what I mean is the rule, not the exceptions. If you still want to get all anecdotal and pull the exceptionalism card outta the deck, go ahead. See if I care.

So basically, I have this to say to the exceptionalists: Ayn Rand can go to hell.

No, my way of seeing it is a trinity: community building, sustainability and green tech. It's a pyramid with people and community-building at the top.

I'll no doubt expound on this in future posts, but I have to get to something else. Suffice this for now: I'm working on a project that has to do with this triumvirate and it's pretty exciting - I can see it, but making vision into reality is a lot like filmmaking - there's a lot of green in between, as pool players say when a ball's a long way from it's mark.

I'll leave you with this for now; I believe that the following interview of Tom Friedman by John Doerr is a seminal piece in this new dawn. I won't say why for now, but one of the biggest clues, and keys, is there. You just gotta listen.

Press "play" (the arrow in the bottom left-hand corner of the "TV frame" below).