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“Your money or your life!” snarled the bandit, brandishing his pistol.

“Take my life, but please don’t take my money!” cried the little old lady. “I’m saving that for my old age”

We laugh, but that’s exactly what we’re doing as a culture and a species – hoarding our cash at the cost of our lives. We’re thus missing a spectacular opportunity to create a dazzling new economy – and to do well by doing good.

How do I know this? For eight years, I’ve hosted a web site called www.TheGreenInterview.com Recently I was asked to describe the core benefit of the site. The answer simply tumbled out of me.

Every month,” I said, “you get to spend an hour with a great thinker, imagining the future.” That’s how we choose our interviewees. They share a passion for a better, greener future, a determination to help us get there, and an ability to talk about their passion with great eloquence. 

They’ve described an economy that’s changing at warp speed. Volvo will make only electric cars after 2019. Self-driving shared cars will offer reliable transportation without car ownership. Lab-grown “beef” now costs $11 a pound. Rooftop organic farms are flourishing. Renewable energy is rapidly displacing fossil fuels. Automation is eliminating the need for human workers; by 2030, 1/3 of existing US jobs will disappear. Wherever you look, the ground under the traditional economy is shaking. 

What’s changing faster than all is minds. People’s expectations, their desires, their  values – all of these are in flux. So who is the new consumer? Who is the new investor? And what do those people want? 

They want to save their money and their lives. 

I’ve spent eight years talking with the people who are shaping the emerging green economy – studying their work, visiting their labs and businesses, absorbing their vision of the world. It’s been thrilling. The new economy will be dominated by millennials who want durable and re-usable, not disposable. They want use – sharing, leasing, renting – rather than ownership. They value conservation over consumption, rich experience over rich lifestyles, services over goods, thriftful over lavish. They often view possessions as burdens. Some even disdain the use of money. 

The new consumers support economic organizations that diverge sharply from the old corporate model. Patagonia (US) and Riversimple (UK) are privately-owned, environmentally-oriented companies which answer only to the visionaries who own them. Urgenda (Netherlands) is a self-financing, entrepreneurial foundation. The Eden Project (UK) is a registered charity that runs a green theme park. Renewal Funds (Canada) is a green-only venture capital fund. The Samsø Energy Academy (Denmark) is an educational organization. But all of them are high-functioning businesses, and all of them appeal to the new consumers. 

And in the next couple of decades the millennials will inherit $50 trillion dollars – the largest transfer of wealth in history, a tsunami of cash to power the tsunami of change.

This richly-illustrated, deeply personal keynote is an inside look at the perils and possibilities of a brilliant green economy that is taking shape before our eyes. Any organization – indeed, any person – with a desire to prosper in the coming decades needs to hear this startling report from the future.

Format: 30-45 minute keynote, with Q&A if desired.

This program is perfect for:

  • Business audiences
  • Chambers of Commerce and other business organizations
  • Economic development agencies and conferences

The audience members will leave with:

  • A sharpened sense of the possibilities for new ventures and personal growth in a rapidly-greening world
  • A set of inspiring stories about green businesses and sustainable innovations from all over the world
  • A renewed sense of hope about the future of the planet, and about their own agency and authority