Letter From New York March 22, 2010

Or, as it seems to me…

On Thursday of the week past, I was in Washington, DC with Nick Stuart, CEO of Odyssey Networks, with whom I work. Nick and I were in the nation’s capital for a few meetings, including one with National Geographic. As we were getting ready to go to DC, an invitation was presented to us to attend a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington to announce Morocco’s Charter of the Environment and Sustainable Development in conjunction with the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day [yes, the 40th anniversary of Earth Day!] that will be celebrated in Rabat, the capital of Morocco. There will also be a huge Earth Day celebration on the Mall in Washington, DC on the 25th.

Nick wanted to attend but it conflicted with another appointment he had and so he asked me if I would fly the Odyssey flag at the Press Conference, which I did. It was an intimate affair, covered by about twenty-five journalists with a slew of notables both from the U.S. and Morocco, ranging from the Kingdom of Morocco’s Secretary of State in charge of Water Resources and Environment, to Lisa Jackson, the U.S. EPA Administrator to Kathleen Rogers, President of the Earth Day Network, to Fathallah Oualalou, Mayor of Rabat to the Moroccan Ambassador to the United States as well as several others.

When the Press Conference was over, I got a few minutes to chat with Kathleen Rogers, Earth Day Network President. She mentioned to me a fact I’d forgotten that it is not only the 40th Anniversary for Earth Day, it’s also the 40th Anniversary for the EPA, which, today, is working with all parties to carve out environmental solutions, a role Congress might have performed but hasn’t so it seems to be falling to the EPA.

We chatted a bit about the green economy, one that she feels is coming into play, quickly and she speaks fervently of the result of better health that will come as a result of the green economy, the Green Revolution she is convinced we are experiencing. She feels that the Green Revolution is as profound a revolution as the Industrial Revolution and that we are seeing the way man lives transformed. And she feels that this Revolution will happen more quickly than the Industrial.

Around the time of Earth Day there will be a two-day conference that will gather together 200 entrepreneurs, bringing all the folks together to imagine ways to create new, green jobs. It will be all about creating “climate wealth” and will be held in the U.S., a country, interestingly enough, that has seen its investment in the green economy fall by 2% in the last year or so which is in contrast to the rest of the industrialized world where investment in a green economy is on the rise.

Kathleen Rogers feels strongly that unlike the time of the Industrial Revolution we don’t have the luxury of time to allow the Green Revolution to lazily reveal itself. The threat to health is too palpable. We don’t, she says, want to experience survival of the fittest.

Odyssey is an interfaith organization and so Ms. Rogers added that the Green Revolution needs interfaith leaders, like the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who had come into to say a few good words about Morocco and Earth Day just before attending another event at the National Press Club; they are voices to which people listen. There are organizations and movements like Creation Care in which religious people have become engaged. Religious leaders have the moral authority to encourage change, Ms. Rogers felt.

To be true, like most revolutions the Green one is taking its time to fall into place though, when we look back on it, it may be coming together faster than it feels while living through it. It is one that will have long lasting effects like the ones that came out of the Industrial Revolution. Both will have raised the quality of life for those who experienced them.

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