by Handsome Matt

I ended yesterday’s post talking about the kinks within environmentally clean and sustainable technologies. And this is the continuation of that thought.

*warning, this is more my own thought, and less hard facts

The Critics

There are quite a few critics mounting arguments against the clean and sustainable revolution. But the one I hear most often, with it various derivatives is this:

“It’s not effective right now.”

And the biggest subset of this argument is leveled against renewable energy production.

“Currently, renewable sources of energy make up 6-7% of the total energy production in the US. Therefore the needs of the people can’t be met.”

Bad Logic

This is just bad logic.

It’s a circular argument. We can’t use renewable energy because it doesn’t work right now. And it doesn’t work right now because we don’t use it. Looking at the power production argument: Coal, natural gas, or oil on their own couldn’t provide enough power for the United States. They only make up roughly a quarter of power generation.So by the logic above, we shouldn’t be using them either.

Furthermore, renewable energy doesn’t work right now, because we don’t use it? If something isn’t in use, then of course it doesn’t work. When your lights are turned off, they aren’t working. That doesn’t mean they won’t or can’t work, it just means they aren’t. When your car isn’t running, it isn’t working. However when you turn the key, it starts right up and away you go.


Let’s get one thing straight: there are kinks in every system. When cars first came out, FIRST came out, they were steam powered and could only be bought by a select few (namely monarchs). And furthermore, the roads and infrastructure necessary, didn’t exist. We didn’t have freeways until after WWII! early automobile. Note the lack of heat, roof, doors, windshield, seat belts, rubber tires, etc.

Electricity, Ben Franklin knew about it, but it didn’t really mean much until Edison. That’s a separation of some years, and it wasn’t until after Edison that we looked into power generation.

Locomotives and steam power. Steam powered locomotives conquered the West. But when they were first invented, the steam engine was a toy, it was underpowered and almost useless. Furthermore, they needed rails to run on. Steel rails, aren’t a naturally occurring phenomena. And now, we use steam power to generate our electricity, but the heights of development are astounding!

George Stephenson’s engine Rocket

What’s Holding Us Back?


Ultimately, nothing.

As a system is implemented on a large scale the kinks are worked out, the shortcomings addressed, and the efficiency of the system is improved. That’s the short answer.

For the long answer I need to reference the book Beyond Trend my Matt Mattus. Mattus is the designer for Hasbro, and soon after starting with Hasbro, took a trip around the world to study design. He came to a startling conclusion: Global companies, and the speed of connectivity in the world, had effectively smothered design. There are no new trends in design, as soon as something catches on, it’s mass marketed and killed.

It’s not just design, look at music. According to of the top 200 albums sold in 2009, 35 (including 2 from Michael Buble and 1 from Madonna) were from bands or music who’s heydey was pre 1990. Roughly 17% of the top 200 albums sold last year, were albums or bands from one to two generations prior. *I’m all for great music, don’t get me wrong

These two trends, the loss of design and classic albums still being sold and released (coincidentally, Led Zeppelin, CCR, and Pink Floyd were all included in those 35 albums), highlight a growing concern.

Stoppage in Innovation

I’ll say it. We’ve stopped innovating.

That sentence is partially for shock value, and even as I say it I know that individuals are coming up with innovative solutions everyday. But no longer are they being implemented. More often then not, they’re squashed and silenced. Technology rights are bought up, patents secured, or in worse cases individuals suffer accidents (Search Stan Meyer and water powered car).

The issue is simple. The organizations and individuals who stand to lose most from an economy centered around clean and sustainable initiatives are strong enough now to stop innovative ideas from catching on.

Read through the funding sources of global warming deniers, track down who funded the hacking of climatologists emails, and just look at who is making a killing off of the current economic setup.

I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but this does lend itself in that direction. Especially given that solar and wind technology have been around since the 70s, hydro power has been around since the 1800s, and cars have been able to achieve ultra-efficient MPGs for years, but nothing has really changed.

This is the greatest crime of all: We keep being told that in the near future clean energy and sustainable economies will be viable, that’s the same statement posed again and again from the 1960s on. We’ve waited enough, and enough “near futures” have come and gone it’s time we demand change.