Coming up with a bold idea is one thing. Executing is another.
Our Creative Communities Leadership Program (CCLP) team is tackling the CNR 2030 initiative, whose audacious goal is to grow the Roanoke and New River Valley region toward a carbon-neutral future. I’m co-chairing with Nicole Hall. You can read all about it in previous posts.
Our team had its first post-workshop meeting last week, and we spent the entire time talking about the basics of mission, vision and project scope. This is no easy task; because the Creative Class Group‘s “4T” charge behind CNR 2030 is Technology, we are being deliberate as we build our strategic foundation, to ensure that our efforts are focused not only on environmental objectives, but also sustainable economic development.
So many coincidences arrived in my mailbox in the past week.
The Spring 2009 issue of my University of Florida alumni magazine, UF Today, is devoted to sustainability and green technology. Included is a great Top 10 list of “green mythology” (I’ll post a link when the article is available online) including, “Myth 6: Technology Will Only Make Things Worse”:
Sometimes, techno-myths get in the way of innovation, says Mickie Swisher (PhD ’82), associate professor of sustainable agriculture. “I get irritated with both ends of the spectrum,” she says, referring to technology buffs who insist technology can save the planet and “the green people — the ideologically committed — who seem to fear technology.”
Curtis Hannah is all too familiar with anti-technology myths. As a UF molecular biologist and professor of horticulture science, he experiments with genetically manipulated field crops. Along the way, he incurs the wrath of skeptics who claim such crops are unnatural, harmful and controlled by powerful corporations.
Hannah says crops engineered to be insect and disease resistant, which reduce toxins sprayed on the earth, make more sense. Plus, they’ve proven more efficient, requiring less ground for agriculture.
Ditto for the latest Virginia Business magazine. Its cover story, “Creating Green Jobs”, quickly made me recognize that our region needs to partner with others across the commonwealth and perhaps entice some green technology startups to relocate and/or expand to Roanoke. The most eye-popping passage from the article:
An offshore wind farm the size of Virginia Beach (248 square miles) could generate an estimated 21,000 gigawatts, according to estimates by the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium (VCERC). That’s 12 percent of the commonwealth’s residential energy consumption. Currently half the state’s electricity is generated by burning coal, so a wind farm of this size could represent a 63 billion ton reduction in carbon dioxide emissions each year.
Our CCLP team will be meeting weekly for the next year. Join our Facebook group to follow our progress.