Today I went to a great forum on Leadership, Innovation and Sustainability at the Brickworks in Toronto.

Jeremy Rifkin kicked off the day with a brilliant, visionary speech about the Third Industrial Revolution (the title of his yet-to-be-released book).

He argued that every time we now try to restart the engine of the economy the engine shuts down within 3-4 year intervals because we have hit peak oil production and peak globalization. When oil hits $147 a barrel as it did in July 2008, all the costs across the supply chain went through the roof, from construction to chemicals to heat, light, waste, etc. He says the collapse of the financial markets was the aftershock. (Not to let Wall St off the hook). We are at a dangerous end game of regrowth followed by collapse.

We need a new eco vision that is compelling, practical and delivered in less than 40 years that gets us off carbon.

He then went on to talk about a 5 pillar plan he’s working on in Europe which includes; committing to renewables, collecting and connecting energy distribution, storage, building a distributed nervous system of infrastructure and finally electric and plug in transportation.

It’s all laid out in The Third Industrial Revolution: How lateral power is transforming energy, the economy and the world.

Some of the choice quotes and interesting items from the day included;
– walmart announcing their student challenge with over $100K in prizes
– George Hazel talking about maximizing exchange space while minimizing movement space
– Tom Rand talking about Planet Traveller, his uber-cool green hostel in Toronto. He shared that by unlocking 5% of his capital in the building he saw a 75% reduction in the energy load at a profit
– every 10 days the world is building another city the size of Toronto
– a reference to Dan Kahan’s (Yale) study saying we are more likely to form our decisions based on what those around us think than on the actual data

The event was a who’s who of the green innovation and green cities and sustainability movement. Geoff Cape hosted the event and brought together the stellar group of people for the third year in a row. If you haven’t checked out Evergreen’s leadership in the space have a look. They are at the forefront of a crucial new space.

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