April 18th, 2007 by Bill
NY Times columnist Tom Friedman has a great talent for breaking through the thick crust of partisan political rhetoric that attaches itself inexorably to every major issue (war, religious fundamentalism, economic development, emerging democracies, etc.) and obscures the facts needed to make intelligent decisions. With his cover story in the April 15, 2007 NY Times Sunday Magazine (”The Power of Green”), he has clearly seized the thought leadership role in describing the enormous opportunities – economic, political and social – presented by “green technology.” Our addiction to oil, combined with the corrupting influence of the enormous transfers of wealth to undemocratic regimes that produce nothing but oil, have truly brought the world to a sorry state – socially, economically and environmentally. But the power of oil is vastly exceeded by the power of imagination and creativity, and Tom Friedman’s call to arms should be required reading for anyone who despairs that the vicious cycle of oil dependency can ever be fixed. It is well within our power to dramatically change the game: we only need to take the first step, individually and collectively. 500 years ago, the church was the most powerful catalyst for change, succeeded by national governments, multi-lateral government institutions and a cornucopia of NGO’s. Now, and for the forseeable future, the most powerful catalyst for change – for better or worse – is private business enterprise. Friedman cites a number of such enterprises – both emerging and well-established – that are leading the charge in imagining and creating the green technologies that promise to free us from the tyranny of oil. This is a wonderful thing to see! But there are equally effective ways for private business enterprises to have a significant, positive impact on the environment, even if they have nothing to do with green technology per se. Exbiblio is a small company (a dozen staff at present) but with big ideas on how a for-profit company can “walk the talk” in meeting what is truly an urgent moral and ethical imperative to preserve our environment. I hope we can rise to Tom Friedman’s challenge. Watch this space for a progress report!