Are We Nearing the Tipping Point?

tipping.jpgWith the president himself admiting that US is “addicted to oil” (albeit foreign oil only) I think we’re getting fantastically close to a larger scale “tipping point” wherein the nation’s (I’m being US -specific here) consciousness finally starts to tip on a larger scale towards more sustainable behavior. In the case of the president, I think he sees the move as pertaining more to national military and economic security than anything else, which is certainly true, and fine with me. If that’s the way “getting off oil” starts, then so be it. As renewables and efficiency start to prove themselves, and as people are reminded that better health and a better environment are the additional bonuses, then I think real, exciting, and positive change is around the corner. I just wish he’d say “oil” generically, and not just “foreign oil”.. but this is a huge start!

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of has grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He worked for, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years and has also been an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.

5 responses

  1. In a presentation I gave to a bunch of industry execs in Phoenix last week, I proposed that the ‘tipping point’ is already here — that in fact we’ll look back some years from now and say ‘2005 was it.’
    My short list:
    – GE/Ecomagination
    – JPMorganChase
    – Goldman Sachs
    – WalMart, of all things (I know, I know; see
    – Katrina
    – Wilma
    And no doubt more. Sure, some of this may be lip service, but much of it isn’t. We’re seeing both more depth and more receptivity in the business words than ever before.
    It’s time for full court press, team!

  2. I think we’re getting close.
    Unfortunately, we are also getting close ecologically and biogeochemically.
    Meaning that the sudden acceleration of the rise in CO2 levels over the last few years observed at Mauna Loa could indicate that positive feedbacks toward a runaway greenhouse effect are kicking in (as has been predicted by scientists). With all the articles about melting permafrost, I fear that it is resulting in the decomposition of carbon that has been out of the active global carbon cycle for tens to hundreds of thousands of years (if not more). Combine that with the sudden (last century) injection of hundreds of millions of years worth of previously fossilized carbon (fossil fuels emissions) into the relatively thin layer of atmosphere that surrounds the earth (if the earth was an apple, as thick as the apple’s skin), and it’s easy to see how we’ve got a serious problem on our hands.
    So let that thought keep motivating you in the urgency of your positive, solution-oriented actions.

  3. Unfortunately, I agree wholeheartedly with george on this one: the main reason Bush used the words “foreign oil,” as opposed to just “oil,” is to continue to push for increased drilling/mining of American parks, oceans, etc. I hate to be so negative on this, but the Republicans are pretty much transparent on this issue and are not backing down.
    That said: I completely agree the tipping point has arrived, and I am hoping the so-worshipped Free Market is gonna move things in better directions. With or without government’s help.

  4. Yep, Bush is insincere at best, straight up lying is more likely. Note his target date of 2025 is 17 years after he leaves office–how likely is he to feel accountable for THAT? No different than the auto industry in 1970 saying, “We need 10 more years to begin fuel efficiency standards.”
    BUT, that Bush felt obliged to add “healthy energy” to his “health forests” and “clear skies” initiatives may just be the final indicator that the tippping point has arrived–if the imperial powers feel the need to be seen as jumping on the bandwagon, then there must be a bandwagon around here somewhere.
    My index will be when scalpers on the street are selling tickets to Nick and Gil’s next presentation for $400 :-)

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