Former Governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm wants to start a revolution in America. In her TED talk from February of this year (see below), she outlined three issues she never could resolve as Governor: how to create jobs in a global economy, and how to solve the climate change crisis, both very hard to tackle with a Congress that can’t get jack done (I’m paraphrasing a bit here), at least at the moment. She wants to make the United States the number one country in Clean Energy jobs and investments, all the while providing good, lasting jobs in a global economy. She’s the Wizard of Wind, the Sultan of Solar, the Guru of Geothermal. The… well, you get the idea.
Allan Savory is an ecologist who since the 1960s has been working to understand the processes of desertification, which in his TED talk (also from February, see below) he says is “just a fancy word for land that is turning to desert.” Since the 60s he’s been researching land management practices in order to find a solution to desertification, and what he’s come up with is something he calls “Holistic Management”. Basically, using vast herds of livestock to trample grasslands (not to mention fertilize them with their waste products), and using planned grazing patterns to mimic the natural grazing and migration patterns of herding animals in Nature, we can reclaim a lot of grasslands that are drying out beyond repair.
So why do I want these people to come together? If you watch their talks–and I forgive you if you want to take your time with them, because they take a little time anyway–you may be wondering that yourself. But the reality is that Gov. Granholm and Mr. Savory have two radically different angles on the same issue. Savory acknowledges the importance of clean energy technologies in the solution to the climate crisis, but feels that in order to recapture a lot of the carbon already in the atmosphere (and prevent a lot of extra warming in the process), and protect the wet/dry grassland biomes, his Holistic Management is a huge step in the right direction.
What intrigues me about Gov. Granholm’s idea is that she wants to make the clean energy race exactly that: a race. A Clean Energy Race to the Top. Regardless about your feelings about President Obama’s education policy, what is unique about it is that he got 48 states to participate. That’s unprecedented. So I thought, after re-watching both speakers’ talks a couple of times, why not do that with both ideas? Have all the states compete to have 80% of their energy from clean sources by 2050, and also have them compete to see how much of their grasslands they can protect by using livestock to imitate nature. Now that is what I call holistic management. Not just dealing with energy alone, not just land use alone, but both together in an integrated fashion.
If we’re going to get serious about solving the global climate change, then here are the two steps I promised you in the title:
1. Create a “Clean Energy Race to the Top”, just like Gov. Granholm describes in her talk. The states compete for a $5 billion prize, to be won by having 80% of their energy from clean sources by 2050. 1st problem solved–and it helps our employment rate too.
2. Introduce “Holistic Management” into the challenge, or make it its own race. Find out if we can not only power our country from green sources but make the grasslands green once again, too. We don’t want the whole midwest looking like the Dust Bowl of the 1930s again. And we only really need one American desert–keep it in the southwest.
If we were to do both of those things–and forget Congress, they’re still dealing with the latest “fiscal cliff” or whatever short term disaster we’re on now–we could lead the world in efforts to curb carbon emissions, we could get back our industrial jobs, and our farms would be at least 100% more productive from Holistic Management. It’s a win-win. We get what we invest in.
So, millionaire / billionaire / (it’s a stretch, but whatever) trillionaire investors who are avid readers of this blog, I hope you are thoroughly convinced that these Races are worthy enough to put up a $4.5 billion pot for which the 50 states can contend. Because I don’t want to be there when it’s hot enough for that money to burst into flames. Spontaneously. ‘Cause then that means I’d be cooked, too.
And we wouldn’t want that. Who would write my posts?