Free Forum Q&A – PETER DIAMANDIS Chairman, X PRIZE Foundation author, ABUNDANCE: The Future Is Better Than You ThinkWritten on June 5th, 2015
Originally aired March 2012
Opening day of the 2012 TED conference featured two talks one after the other. The first by Paul Gilding entitled The Earth is Full asked questions like, Have we used up all our resources? Have we filled up all the livable space on Earth? Gilding suggests we have – with the possibility of devastating consequences. In a talk that’s equal parts terrifying and oddly hopeful, he says, “It takes a good crisis to get us going. When we feel fear and we fear loss we are capable of quite extraordinary things.”
That talk was followed by one by this week’s guest, PETER DIAMANDIS, entitled ABUNDANCE IS OUR FUTURE, in which he makes the case for optimism – that we’ll invent, innovate and create ways to solve the challenges that loom over us. “I’m not saying we don’t have our set of problems — climate crisis, species extinction, water and energy shortages – we surely do. But ultimately, we knock them down.”
Since the dawn of humanity, a privileged few have lived in stark contrast to the majority. Conventional wisdom says this gap cannot be closed. But, according to a book by Diamandis and co-author Steven Kotler, it is closing – fast. ABUNDANCE – THE FUTURE IS BETTER THAN YOU THINK documents how progress in artificial intelligence, robotics, infinite computing, ubiquitous broadband networks, digital manufacturing, nanomaterials, synthetic biology, and many other exponentially growing technologies will enable us to make greater gains in the next two decades than we have in the previous two hundred years. They believe we will soon have the ability to meet and exceed the basic needs of every man, woman, and child on the planet.
As we begin a new year, let’s look at where we are in the big picture. What are the most critical issues facing the US and the world? How do you see things moving in those areas? How are things getting worse or better? What should we be keeping our eyes on in the year to come?
My guest this week will be HAZEL HENDERSON, who’s been asking these sorts of questions for at least the last 40 years. We’re going to approach this exploration globally as well as nationally, with a long-term view, and with an eye toward relationships and systems that we often miss in our day-to-day focus on the latest news and events.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because this was my plan a few weeks ago when Hazel was my guest. But we ended up spending so much time on her journey – a remarkable journey it is, a mom in New York who’d never been to college got upset about pollution threatening her young child, became an activist, and developed into a global expert on economics and sustainability.
Free Forum Q&A – TERRY TAMMINEN, frmr Secy Cal EPA CRACKING the CARBON CODE Sustainable Profits in the New EconomyWritten on September 4th, 2013
When I first met TERRY TAMMINEN, he was living on a houseboat in the Marina and filling a position he’d founded as the first Santa Monica Baykeeper. No too long before that, he had been running a pool services company. And not too long after, he was Secretary of the California EPA.
Tamminen has reinvented himself successfully in several very different worlds — business, government, non-profit, foundation, from the grassroots to the halls of power. All of this for a long time now to achieve a sound and healthy relationship between society and the environment. He pursues that consistent vision with whatever works.
We’ll talk about the ideas in his book, CRACKING THE CARBON CODE: The Key to Sustainable Profits in the New Economy – which is very much a plan of action for companies who figure out that reducing carbon emissions reduces waste and is therefore good for the bottom line. He’ll tell stories of companies that have made or saved money by cutting carbon.
How has he been able to move things forward through politics and government in an era when so little seems to get done? Bottom line, are we moving fast enough? If not, how do we integrate all these different players to accelerate movement in the right direction?
In the preface to an article entitled A National Strategic Narrative, Anne-Marie Slaughter of Princeton says we need a narrative that confronts some of the following questions, “Where is the United States going in the world? How can we get there? What are the guiding stars that will illuminate the path along the way? We need a story with a beginning, middle, and projected happy ending that will transcend our political divisions, orient us as a nation, and give us both a common direction and the confidence and commitment to get to our destination.” She also writes, “In one sentence, the strategic narrative of the United States in the 21st century is that we want to become the strongest competitor and most influential player in a deeply inter-connected global system, which requires that we invest less in defense and more in sustainable prosperity and the tools of effective global engagement.”
Over time, the best way to shape the force of the future is to invest in the science, technology, education, and training that will equip our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines to adapt to an increasingly complex and dynamic environment. The hardware and software we buy and build are secondary to the gray matter we must cultivate now.
When I hear that someone high up in the military is talking seriously about sustainability, I take notice.