The Sustainable Revolution

The economy is poised for a massive restructuring defined by whole system design and radical resource productivity

Since the industrial revolution, we’ve gone through five economic cycles: Water, Steam, Electricity, Digital, and now we’re entering one defined by whole system design and radical resource productivity. With technology breakthroughs, changes in market dynamics and evolving policy, the new economy is poised to have as vast an impact as the previous industrial revolutions but happen at the speed of the digital age.

Renewable Energy Economics

As Daniel Kammen points out, a solar project in Dubai recently announced $.029 per kilowatt-hour, unsubsidized - no fossil fuel project can touch that price.

This was impossible just five years ago, but in that short time solar’s price dropped by almost 90%​ and wind has dropped by over 50%. Shell, the world's second largest publicly-traded oil company plans to increase renewable energy investment to $1 billion a year and is calling for a carbon tax because it recognizes “the global energy system needs to evolve to one with zero emissions,” and the economics of renewable energy have become unstoppable.

Electric Vehicles

75% of global CO2 emissions come from power plants and vehicles.

Similarly, electric vehicles are disrupting the transportation industry with one study projecting EVs to make up 35% of the market worldwide by 2035 and two thirds by 2050.

The Paris Agreement

In November 2016 the Paris Agreement to combat climate change went into effect with 196 countries committing to implement a roadmap to decarbonize their national economies.

In turn, China announced it will institute a national carbon price in 2017 and plans to invest $360B in renewable energy projects by 2020. As of 2016, according to the World Bank: 40 countries, and over 20 cities, states and regions – including seven of the ten largest economies are putting a price on carbon.

Sustainability and National Security

In 2009, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen asked Colonel Mark Mykleby and Captain Wayne Porter at the Pentagon to draft a grand strategy for America.

In The New Grand Strategy, Colonel Mykleby describes the outcome: “Our  national security mind-set was reactive, able to manage crises as they arose but with no real ability to envision a new strategic era. Today's world is complex and dynamic, with constant change and uncertainty. The result was A National Strategic Narrative outlining an approach to achieve sustainable prosperity and security…a strategy [which] would allow us to adapt, compete, grow, and evolve in a manner commensurate with our values and sustain us over time. The document cited sustainability as our number one national strategic imperative for the 21st century.

The study reminds us that we must think and act in generational terms, not just in the here and now. As an organizing principle, sustainability addresses pressing domestic, foreign policy, economic, security, political, social, and environmental issues and how they connect to the global community.”

A Changing Environment

By 2050 we’ll add 2 billion people to the planet and 2 billion people will join the middle class.

Time is pressing. In many metrics we’re already beyond the carrying capacity of the earth and heading into a century of greater connectedness, interdependence, and climate change. Increased CO2 absorbed by the sea is changing our ocean’s chemistry - we’re an ocean planet. Rising sea levels could displace millions of people by the end of the century and extreme weather can disrupt our food supply and magnify social stressors.

We’re disrupting the hydrological cycle, the key to life on earth. The warming planet is evaporating more water from the surface of the ocean and land causing droughts, transporting it around the globe and causing extreme weather events. We’re just starting to get better at monitoring the planet, but it’s moving faster than our models predicted. We have made some progress, there are clear solutions, renewable energy and clean tech is on an exponential curve...so it’s more a matter of if we can implement it fast enough and build resiliency into our infrastructure. That’s going to be much harder for developing nations.

Solutions

There are concrete steps we can take to reduce our impact, mitigate some of the effects of the changing environment, and create more resilient communities.

Energy Efficiency + Renewables

Paris Agreement, Sustainable Development Goals

Electric Vehicles

Shift Transport to EVs

Land Use

Sustainable Ag
Conservation

Cities

Incubators

Organizations

Sustainable
Supply Chains

Sustainable Supply Chains

Individuals

Sustainable Choices,
Change Laws & Regs

Summary

Sustainability isn’t just about the environment, it’s about leading in new technologies which are shaping the world.

Our purchasing dollars are one of the most powerful tools we have to help reform markets. Goodnet is building a platform to enable organizations and individuals to reduce their environmental impact and send a signal to the most sustainable companies to increase R&D and accelerate the pace of change.

Over the next three decades we need to shift out of fossil fuels almost entirely. While the policy side is moving slower than the market, there is a global pathway using a combination of efficiency, free market mechanics, and consumer demand. 70% of Americans want climate action. The sustainability revolution is nonpartisan and worldwide. Even old economy companies are seeking ways to bring down barriers and transition. We all play a part in bringing the future forward.

To find thousands of the leading independently rated sustainable solutions, visit Goodnet.co.


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