Clean Tech Battle Cry For Generation Y

May 25, 2011

Industry News, Technologies

I recently wrote about the struggles of clean tech to thrive without incentives from government funded research, federal tax cuts, and consumer financial programs. It stemmed quite the conversation in the comments section.

Can clean tech continue to boom?

If the elimination of incentive to drive demand and access is merely a road block, how do we overcome the hurdle?

Being a young energy careerist, this question is certainly important for me in regards to the future of my industry but it really hits home for me personally as well. I eat, sleep, and breathe energy technology, energy policy, and energy solutions. This is more than a career for me – it is who I am to the core of my being, an energy nerd to the deepest degree.

I asked myself (and my loyal commenters on my previous clean tech post), what can a Gen Y energy enthusiast do to help sustain the momentum in clean tech if energy policy and incentives are no longer driving innovation and market demand like they did in years in past?

Energy policy has to be a priority for this nation in order to get venture capitalists and investors back in the game of clean energy technology. I strongly believe this is true but  the American people don’t have to wait around until we get smarter policy makers to do our bidding.

Policy is created by the decision makers that we constituents vote into office. So we, the American people, are responsible for the lack of long term energy policy in the US. We, the American people, are also responsible for changing that.

Do you follow me? It’s ALL OUR FAULT. It’s your fault. And my fault. And our neighbors and cousins and bosses and even the mail carrier. It’s all our fault. And it’s about damn time we take some responsibility for that rather than just complaining about poor policy support.

So here’s my pitch – my plea, even, for Gen Y energy buffs.

We have to make energy issues dinner-table talk. We need to have it in the headlines, talked about at conferences, discussed on the local news and the water coolers. We need to share what we know, collaborate together, and take energy issues and clean tech research to a whole new level. We need to get people complaining as much about the need for cleaner, smarter energy sources and systems as much as they complain about gas prices. And we need to start now.

But why am I targeting Gen Y, you ask? Because we hold in fingertips, power that has never been so influential in generations past – the power of collaboration, partnerships, and cross-function meetings of the minds. Yes, other generations have had the ability to do all of the things in the past and they have done a heck of a job. If it weren’t for the energy pioneers of the 70s and 80s, we wouldn’t be as far as we are right now. But they never had the fuel of social media to help make connections and bridges like Gen Y exploits the living bajeebus out of these days.

The Gen Y revolution is not just about technology though. It’s about the mindset that comes with being constantly plugged in and the access the technology allows. We’ve grown up chatting with strangers across the world, the ability to answer almost any question that comes to mind with a simple Google search, and the idea that our work is not just our day job but we can accomplish in a day. This mindset empowers Gen Y to spread ideas like wildfire and do so in a cost-effective, efficient way.

Baby boomers and Gen X built the ship – creating an amazing foundation for energy technology and development. But it’s up to Gen Y and the Millenials to make the wind and the waves to sail that sucker to the ends of the Earth. It is up to us to turn energy issues viral and infect the masses. It is up to collaborative class to get the American people to really DEMAND a sustainable, long term energy policy.

It is up to us to save clean tech.

Give me your ideas: Your amazing, earth-shattering ideas. Your insane, whackadoodle ideas. Your off-the-cuff ideas. Your idealistic and long-shot ideas. Let’s start making some waves. Together. And let’s start now.

Photo credit: coniferine

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3 Comments on “Clean Tech Battle Cry For Generation Y”

  1. Mark W. Says:

    Megan, I reluctantly make a comment here on this post as it is geared to Gen-Y. However I wanted to add links here for you to review regarding collaboration from the Harvard Business Review. They have a series of posts in their Insight Center titled ‘Making Collaboration Work’ at http://hbr.org/insights/collaboration . I found it interesting that this post is 50 years to the day that President Kennedy made a goal of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely before the joint session of Congress ( http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/05/the_man_on_the_moon_standard.html ). I know this nation is capable of achieving a well-conceived, clean energy goal and that lessons can be taken from history and applied to today’s challenges.

    Reply

  2. Madam Energy Says:

    Mark, thank you for the great links! The “Man on the Moon Standard” article was fantastic.

    Reply

  3. mytreetv Says:

    Dear Madam Energy,
    so, you are an energy nerd to the deepest degree! 🙂
    I think you should watch http://www.MyTree.TV
    ‘Cause my blog is 100% CO2-Free! 😉
    Please check it out and let me know what you think about it.
    Kind regards from Switzerland,
    Stefan

    Reply

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