This is a guest submission from John Addison, Publisher of the Clean Fleet Report.
My ninth trip to teach a workshop at Two World Trade Center never happened because of the great tragedy 9/11. On September 11, 2001, thanks to heroes like Avel Villanueva the hundreds of people working for Sun Microsystems in Two World Trade Center all quickly evacuated the building and survived. “Please, with calmness, go to the nearest exit. This is not a drill. Get out.” Only after several pages and inspecting the vast 25th and 26th floors did Avel personally leave. Three minutes later the second plane hit Two World Trade Center.
As our current president reminds us, “We are addicted to oil.” As we continue to spend billions for oil for countries hostile to our way of life, we continue in the words of Thomas Friedman to “finance both sides of the war on terror.” In his new book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, the Pulitzer Prize winning author shows us how to be free of this addiction.
Americans are not waiting ten years to replace a fraction of our foreign oil with new oil from Alaska. Americans are reducing our oil use now. Confronted with high prices at the pump, U.S. citizens drove 12 billion fewer miles in one month. People are taking advantage of flexwork, public transit, car pooling, sharing rides and sharing vehicles.
In Thomas Friedman’s new book he recalls a Chinese proverb, “When the wind changes direction, there are those who build walls and those who build windmills.” America can renew its world leadership with innovative solutions to an emerging climate crisis. From information technology to clean technology, from flexwork to sustainable communities, let’s build windmills not walls.
We can be inspired by heroes like Avel Villanueva who got everyone to safety. We can also celebrate the millions of ordinary heroes who are building a more secure future for our children by living a more sustainable life today.