Van Jones on Ending Oil Dependency

Question: Is a shift away from oil dependency possible in the next 50 to 100 years?

Van Jones:    Well, there’s a couple of things we have to think about.  You know, if some, a lot of people say, well, you know, we can’t get off of oil.  It’s just, you know, it’s too big a part of the share of our overall allocation for energy in this country.  We’re going to have, we are going to be and always have to deal with it.  Well, somebody put a gun to your head and say to solve this problem, you can figure it out in about 30 seconds.  You know, the answer is we need a clean energy grid where we use our power centers in the United States which is our Sunbelt where we have a Saudi Arabia of solar and our plain states, we have a Saudi Arabia of wind, and connect those clean energy power centers to our population centers where and most people don’t live in the desert, they live in the cities and on the coast.  There’s some technological breakthrough that have to happen to be able to have hyper conductive power lines, so, you don’t lose so much power in transmission and there’s some battery technology breakthroughs that we need.  But in the 10 years that it’s going to take us to get a few drops of oil through coastal drilling into the system, you can completely overhaul the grid and have a clean energy, smart grid, and the benefits of that are number 1, no more [rush] of oil, no more policing global oil supply lands, tremendous savings.  Number 2, you bring carbon down so you actually have a planet to live on, that’s pretty important.  Number 3, you put people to work.  Look back at the last century.  About building the highway system, we didn’t have an international, I mean, sorry, an interstate highway system, we didn’t have an interstate highway system at first.  It was just, you know, patchwork of little rural roads.  We created an interstate highway system because we’re afraid [IB] invaded how can we move personnel and people and material around.  Well, that laid the basis for the economy that we have.  We are trucking and shipping and all kinds of stuff going on.  A government response creating incredible private economy benefits, like, the information superhighway.  Same thing. Government came in and initially made it work.  Now, people are making, you know, billions of dollars off of the internet.  Well, now it’s time to figure out not how to move bodies and cars around or how to move data around, but how you move clean energy electrons around.  How do you do, how do you produce and distribute?  That public works project, for lack of a better term, can put people to work, bring down carbon, and guess what, the sun is always free.  The wind is always free.  Once you build up the infrastructure, energy cost come down dramatically, but you’ve got to be willing to think in those [10-year] increments and not have cheap solutions like “Drill, baby, drill!” as it is best somehow going to solve all of our problems.

Van Jones on the future of clean energy.

Lateral thinking: How to workshop innovative ideas

Don't underestimate the power of play when it comes to problem-solving.

Videos
  • As we get older, the work we consistently do builds "rivers of thinking." These give us a rich knowledge of a certain kind of area.
  • The problem with this, however, is that as those patterns get deeper, we get locked into them. When this happens it becomes a challenge to think differently — to break from the past and generate new ideas.
  • How do we get out of this rut? One way is to bring play and game mechanics into workshops. When we approach problem-solving from a perspective of fun, we lose our fear of failure, allowing us to think boldly and overcome built patterns.

Are these 100 people killing the planet?

Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

Image: Jordan Engel, reused via Decolonial Media License 0.1
Strange Maps
  • Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
  • This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
  • The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
Keep reading Show less

Straight millennials are becoming less accepting of LGBTQ people

The surprising results come from a new GLAAD survey.

Photo credit: Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • The survey found that 18- to 34-year-old non-LGBTQ Americans reported feeling less comfortable around LGBTQ people in a variety of hypothetical situations.
  • The attitudes of older non-LGBTQ Americans have remained basically constant over the past few years.
  • Overall, about 80 percent of Americans support equal rights for LGBTQ people.
Keep reading Show less