Are we falling behind on “doing the right thing?”

Are we falling behind on “doing the right thing?”

Consider this: Globally, 90% of consumers favor increasing renewable energy generation. In America, that figure drops to 77%, according to a recent survey.

This year, China jumped ahead of America in installed wind power capacity. They added 18.9 gigawatts of new power last year, bringing their total capacity to 44.7 gigawatts. In one year, the Chinese upped their wind generation power by nearly 75%.

In the US, so far this year, there are 6700 megawatts under construction, and that represents a doubling of previous year’s figures.

Sigh.

Clearly, we’re now playing catch up instead of leading.

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt recently lamented that the American government isn’t doing enough to address climate change. “We are seeing the rate of extinction of wildlife accelerate, the sea levels are rising and in 50 years the world will be a different place. We share a responsibility to do what we can. And the US isn’t doing its part,” he told an audience in Ireland.

But Google is putting its money where it’s mouth is. So far, they’ve invested $350 million in renewable energy sources, including wind farms, and are on the hunt for more. They’ve also invested $280 million in a new fund designed to help homeowners lease solar energy panels, in hopes of sparking a new clean energy revolution.

But it’s Schmidt’s other comment that caught my attention. Google, he said, is motivated by “doing the right thing.” What is the right thing? Is it the right thing for the company? For the country? For an individual? For an industry?

Right, it turns out, is all relative.

We know, thanks to our proprietary segmentation system, the values and worldviews that dominate American thinking today. To an Active who tends to think systemically, the right thing might be to invest in renewable energy globally. It’s about the right thing for the world. To a Seeker, who’s still not convinced that green is worth paying extra for, the right thing is to price renewable energy the same as conventional energy. It’s about the right thing for her and her family. To a Skeptic, who thinks the whole “green thing” is a scam, show him the business benefits and make the case for profit through competition. It’s about the right thing for the economy, the country and his prestige factor. Positioning the concept as “beating China in the Race for Renewables” helps, too.

So are we falling behind as a country in doing the right thing?

It depends on who you ask.

About the Author

Karen Barnes

Karen is a former contributor to Shelton Insights.

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