Sunday, February 20, 2011

The 10:10 challenge?

10:10 is a movement started, it appears, by the team that made "The Age of Stupid".  It seemed like a great way of getting like minded people together to create momentum for change.  I joined immediately.  One year on I admit to being a little disillusioned by their lack-lustre success driven mostly it seems by their inability to make concrete recommendations as to how their members might lower their carbon footprint.  10% would seem to be a relatively easy goal but it does require more than just changing perfectly good light bulbs for low energy ones.

I was recently accused by one of the VCs I'm talking to of proposing what might be a "boil the ocean story" in respect of NextGen heating.  He clarified this by saying "it needs widespread shifts in people's behaviour and major capital outlays to see real adoption".  I hope I've shown through this blog that by simple changes - moving closer to where you work and cycling to work, sensible use of traffic control, insulation etc I have saved much more than 10% of my carbon footprint and, apart from being a little fitter and a more comfortable, did not make any particular sacrifices.  It did however take conscious effort and conscious action (and some failures) to achieve it.

One strong hint at a solution was neatly eluded to by Peter Hinssen,  one of the Vlerick Management School professors and an IT futurist, in a Keynote called "digital, the new normal".   There is a slide about 25% of the way through showing a survey into "The necessities of life" where 49% of respondents mentioned  cell phones and electronic gadgets, most of which did not exist 15 years ago, populated 50% of the top 10.  Surely if electronic "toys" can achieve this penetration in half a generation then there is hope for green-tech too?  His  ideas  on "Good enough Technology" really resonated with me. e.g. why people use Skype over land lines, MP3 over DVD audio and why Blue-Ray has not achieved mass market penetration.   

I don't believe we should be content with scratching the surface of green-tech. I don't believe we need boil ocean's to get where we need to be either. We just need to find good enough technologies that we can deploy and enjoy.

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