If necessity is the mother of invention, then it's no wonder the state of the environment is driving innovation around the world. At SHFT, we're watching this happen in the private sector at a pace and force that's nothing short of astonishing.
It's a slightly counterintuitive idea, given the huge challenges we're facing and the lack of tangible results at the big international summits. Apathy can set in all too easily. We get overwhelmed with myriad looming issues surrounding climate change and it can leave us numb or full of fear. And then there's the political rationale for why the "conversation" has left the stage in this election year, which goes something like this: More important concerns like the economy and job loss rates eclipse the less important environment issue. But the silver-lined reality is we're in the midst of a burgeoning green economy, and along with it, lots of green jobs.
In fact, we'd argue that the troubled economy, the high unemployment rate, the growing awareness of global warming, and the seismic speed and growth of technology have created a perfect storm of opportunity. We're seeing a proliferation of innovation with the environment at its core in many sectors (business, energy, design, food), and when we take them in the aggregate, it's beginning to look a lot like a paradigm shift.
We explore this bold new landscape in The Big SHFT, our latest original series produced with Ford Motor Company, whose manufacturing innovations forever changed the way things are made. In these short three-minute films, we train the camera lens on 10 innovators who are changing the way we live through innovation and leadership with an eye on the environment.
The Big SHFT, which we're showing here on HuffPost for the first time, harkens back to the industrial revolution in its surge of disruptive innovation, the difference is this current revolution aims to clean up the dirty casualties left in the former revolution's wake.
Sure, it's going to take a lot to clean up the environment and there's no panacea. It will ultimately depend on great efforts from the public sector to work in cooperation with the private sector. But until our government can afford to focus on this, the private sector will be paving great swaths of innovation, application and progress.
Here are the first two episodes: The young entrepreneur Tom Szaky and the green jobs pioneer Van Jones. They are the first two subjects of THE BIG SHFT, who illustrate that despite the many challenges, the times we're living in are damn exciting.
TOM SZAKY: Tom Szaky is the founder and CEO of TerraCycle, which recycles garbage into innovative new products. From plant fertilizer and tote bags, to park benches and bird feeders, Szaky is a transformer who turns trash into profit.
VAN JONES: To Van Jones, pollution and poverty are two sides of the same coin. The former White House environmental advisor is America's leading green jobs advocate, fighting for a clean economy in the name of justice.
SHFT.COM is a cultural media platform, founded by Actor/Filmmaker Adrian Grenier and Film Producer Peter Glatzer offering original video series, curated shopping, and a host of resources that speak to an inspirationally conscious lifestyle.