The Clean Economist: A Quiet Revolution

04/14/2011 11:38 am ET | Updated Jun 12, 2011

I am writing this on April 12th, 150 years to the day the second American Revolution started with years of tragedy, loss of life, and a broken national identity that was mended only when we went from being "these United States" to "this Great Nation." The first American Revolution was an entrenched struggle between opposing views about socioeconomic issues (taxation without representation) with very real moral context in the fight to have freedom over our own governance. The Civil War also was one in which socioeconomic factors divided the nation, and whose outcome had clear moral and ethical context as slavery was abolished when our understanding of freedom evolved to extend to all men regardless of race. I believe that there may be a third American Revolution on the horizon, a socioeconomic struggle with opposing perspectives and a clear moral veil surrounding the health and prosperity of future generations and stewardship of our natural resources.

However, this revolution is not going to be armies facing one another on a field of battle, each killing to demonstrate power. While in each previous revolutions both sides felt that Divine Providence was with their cause, the arc of history has confirmed that the victory of each fell on the side of freedom and justice. Our third American Revolution will not be played out in physical warfare; it will be a war of influence and access. It will be fought in the halls of state legislatures and congressional districts, with city council hearings and peaceful protests. And the arsenal of the "army" of the side of freedom and justice will be armed with human capital and good ideas, combined with strategic tactics that will transform the American system to evolve to what we can and should be: a global leader in this world's transition to a post fossil-fuel economy. The Stone Age didn't end because we ran out of stones; we have the technologies and the capabilities already. Now we need the leadership it will take to convert disbelievers where possible, and work around those who only see stones as a viable option for economic prosperity.

One of the best set of tools we have has recently been coined with the term "CleanWeb," predicted by the chair of the Clean Economy Network as the next wave of cleantech. He defines it as a category of clean technology that leverages the capability of the internet, social media, and mobile technologies to address resource constraints and believes it is the next stage of cleantech. I have expanded the definition to include CleanWeb Community Organizing and CleanWeb Leapfroggers, where the former is a category of clean economic development that leverages all of the above, but with a goal of aligning the troika of technology, policy and market factors and the latter is a category for cleanweb applications in the developing world or as they are often called, "emerging economies."

As an example of the power of the human spirit and will, an ad hoc team has been working with me to upload thousands of clean economy participants to the Clean Energy Economy Gateway, where all of these jobs and employers can be visualized within congressional district boundaries. Since the visual GoogleEarth maps are combined with social media strategies, we can take a cue from Disney, where one ad exec realized you didn't have to wait for the event of a princess movie release to sell Snow White dolls; you could market princess retail items year round. We don't have to wait for "Lobby Days," we can have virtual lobby days every week. More importantly, the Clean Energy Economy Gateway is an open and free resource for all of us in the clean economy to tell our tales of job creation, of seemingly insurmountable hurdles, and of our ideas for solutions. We can now tell clean economic stories to the political representation of these citizens in a way that can be easily digested and better informed. The premise is that we as a nation have a right to the freedom of choosing how we want to build our energy infrastructure as a democracy, have a right to question issues around monopolies and potential anti-trust investigations (think railroads at the turn of the century or Ma Bell a few decades past), and a fundamental responsibility to the world that we are building for our grandchildren and their grandchildren.

These truths are self-evident. King Arthur is still our society's hero precisely because he rejected the idea that might IS right, but voiced the hope for strength to be used FOR right. We have tremendous resources to build this future together, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.