Introduction to Chapter 18

Hot, Flat, and Crowded has seventeen chapters. What's Chapter 18? Chapter 18 will be a completely new chapter that I’ll add to the next edition of the book: Version 2.0. In it I hope to include the best ideas and proposals sent in from readers: ideas about clean energy, energy efficiency, and conservation; about petropolitics and nation-building in America; about how we can help take the lead in the renewal of our country and the Earth alike by going Code Green. I am eager for your suggestions — please post them here.


We have met the enemy and it is US.
The common denominator in energy usuage, pollution, traffic, carbon footprints and on and on belongs to US. People.
First off, if EVERY person in America simply adopted the 10% solution. Reduce your PERSONAL consumption by 10%.Daily,weekly and monthly.Drive 10% less each month. Thats 1 day a week that you carpool, work from home or use mass transit. One stinking day.
Same can be applied to energy etc.
As an aside. I was born in Delaware but grew up in South Carolina. Up until the late 80's early 90's there was a thing called "The Blue Law". No businesses are open on Sunday. Oh that is old fashion and not with the times.
But look at the benefits. A full day of rest(some book about resting on the 7th day comes to mind). Less people driving, relationships and family oriented for one day.
We all slooooooooow down just a bit to get refreshed.
Funny I don't remember carbon footprint or Global Warming being in the vernacular at that time.
Going forward, each new neighborhood must have 10% of its energy not be traditional.
Make junk mail a crime.
All prospectuses from brokerage firms be online.
Bring back PE. Kids that are in shape eat less, are outdoors more and are using less electricity in the home being on the PC playing games and watching tv etc.
Jam cell phones and Blackberry's from working in elevators, churches,hospitals(unless doctor or nurse).
We are wireless for sure. We are NOT connected as we think.
Create a charity/volunteer czar.
Let there be a contest where an average citizen can go to various economic/climate/social summits.
Its always the "intellecutals" that go and yet here we are.
This will be controversial but, reduce NASA's budget by 50% for 5 years and redirect those funds to infrastructures.
The sheer poor planning of highways or the lack of updates has caused MORE traffic. Thats alot of cars just spewing out toxic waste.
Partner with all Major sports. Have a foundation set up that either the fines(players getting ejected or in trouble) or luxury taxes etc go into a general Education Revamp Fund.
Take the top 20 WORSE performing school DISTRICTS.
Create a criteria for being eligible and just like the NBA lottery with a # of ping pong balls that is weighted so schools don't tank it they get into the Revamp Draft.
You can NOT have back to back Top 5 picks.
There will be an overseer from anyone of those leagues that partners up with that district to ensure the money is wisely spent on supplies, specific upgrades to the schools.
Speaking of schools.
We need to have a think tank summit to figure out a better solution for busing.
A yellow and black elephant in the room.
Costly and creates pollution.
Create Tax Credits for energy solutions.
More corporations need to embrace tele conferencing.

Patrick Stallings (not verified)
September 8th 2008, 8:51 pm

As I listened to you today on NPR, I couldn't help but feel a great sadness - for you and for this whole nation. Why won't the powers that be listen? I am sorry to say that as time goes on I feel less and less inclined that they ever will. Nonetheless, I appreciated what you said and agree that we should do whatever we can in the interim. I, too, commute into work via subway at least once a week. I refuse plastic bags at the supermarket. I teach my young students about consumerism and ecology. And yet,I feel.. Is this all I can do?
During a recent trip to San Francisco, I was elated by the work of a group of people I met who had retrofitted their own cars to utilize used vegetable oil. This summer, I also met someone from Vermont who was the manager of a hydroelectric power plant, that is, one that had been converted to that purpose from a turn of the century water mill.
Perhaps your final chapter could expand upon practical ways in which common people can create social networks and technologies to beat this terrible oil and gas addiction.
Keep writing. We need your voice.

Isabella Caputo (not verified)
September 8th 2008, 8:00 pm

Golf Carts, whether they are electric or gas, turn off when one stops and turn back on as soon as one steps on the accelerator. Engineers could design a similar method that could be retrofitted on existing cars. The biggest challenge would be how to run the electrical accessories in the car (AC, heater, radio, etc.) while the engine is temporarily off.

G. Roscoe (not verified)
September 8th 2008, 7:56 pm

One thing that I hope you will write about is the age and obsolesence of our energy grid. Politicians can argue over drilling or not drilling offshore, coal burning etc., I wish they would at least work on calling attention to the outdated manner in which our electricity is distributed.

Fred Craft (not verified)
September 8th 2008, 7:50 pm

Americans are sheep,being lead to slaughter
by forces unknown. I see no future for my
children, we were the country that led the world but now we are a discrace. Mark my word something will happen before the election that will make people vote for another 4 years of failed leadership, we'll all feel safer but in our hearts know that we are less safe.I want my country back, fascists must be held accountable for their lies. I hope it's not too late.

che (not verified)
September 8th 2008, 7:46 pm

My background is in the Sciences, as a non-degreed Electronic engineer. See my complete Pedigree at I have 3 technical patents. One on Electron Guns,in 1952, the 2nd on a Video Telephone in 1997 and the 3rd on a Hybrid Solar Heater, with extended hot-water storage capability in 2002.

I also served. for a brief period, as Energy Chief for Passaic County, New Jersey. I also authored a paper in 1956, which provided a platform, tethered to the ground,at (5) to (10) miles in the air. It could serve as a repeater station for F.M. signals and effectively cover thousands of miles in circumference. (F.M. signals, travel only to line of sight, that's why you see them on high towers). This platform, in the sky, could ALSO contain a wind turbine(s). Since it is that high, it takes advantage of the facts, that it would be high above most clouds,(for photo-voltaic solar cells electricity generation activities), also. that the wind velocity is extremely high and constant, 24 hours a day.
T. Boone Pickens, Mr Bill Gates or some other Billionaire might be well advised, to set up a wind-generating "FARM(s)", in the sky. It, (they), would ease, (or if you build enough of them, NEGATE the oils crisis, now demonstrably upon the world, ease the Global-Warming crisis, benefit ALL of humanity. They could also make a lot of money, (which they do NOT need).
But, they could put some of that money into excellent use, by investing in a system, which guarantees the masses/ an effective education, regardless of race, color, creed, or economic circumstance! I have that system also. I would be proud to act as an adviser, free, with NO recompense of any nature.
I am comfortably retired, and have NO need to amass any further wealth!
Last but NOT least, (it seems I have the answer for everything), ... I DO NOT! I have copyrighted, in 2007 a system entitled the "Living Book" (NOT the Bible). which allows any AUTHOR to change, delete,modify, or even add a Chapter to an already-printed book. I like your version also.


Carmine cifaldi (not verified)
September 8th 2008, 7:24 pm

I have been working for several years on the idea of converting biomass into methanol with a specific focus on a non-invasive variety of the Chinese Tallow tree.
Please see:
In meeting our demand for transportation fuels, we do not have to wait ten years to be free of foreign oil.

Many thanks.

Paul A Olivier (not verified)
September 8th 2008, 6:03 pm

I just heard you on "Fresh AIR", 9/8/08

The message of your book, along with the sadly ludicrous, "drill baby, drill", of Rudy Giuliani should be in the American Mainstream.

Let's inform the American electorate instead allowing the Republicans to pander to ignorance!

John McCain has failed to vote on the tax credit for alternative energy 8 times! That should be a national headline.

That's my plan - to throw out a non leadership than exists because we allow it to manipulate morons.

Keep up the good work

Pete Smillie (not verified)
September 8th 2008, 4:52 pm

E.P. makes a good point with T. Boone Pickens - he's used the internet and traditional media to get more attention to wind power than anyone else in recent memory.

In response to Friedman's latest column (, he supports a top-down approach to innovation this way. I wonder if the Gates Foundation could be convinced to fund research prizes into clean tech in addition to their disease eradication and education efforts. (Or is this already happening?)

Ryan (not verified)
September 8th 2008, 3:00 pm

I'm no expert (I'm actually a student in politics and International Studies), but it seems like the real difficulty here is the gap between science and marketing, that scientists can develop the technology but haven't been able to successfully sell it. I agree with Ms. Reilly that to solve these problems(at least, in developed countries) we need people who are conversant in both fields, who can sell the idea to politicians, not to mention the average person who doesn't have a master's in science. I'm no fan of T. Boone Pickens (especially his politics), but what he's doing by investing in wind energy is exactly what we need. These technologies require capital (if not government funds), skilled entrepreneurs, and more public support.

E.P. (not verified)
September 8th 2008, 2:34 pm

Here's a program that ties in well with Mr. Friedmans thoughts. Maybe they should use his book to teach this "braintrust" ! This was just posted in Mass High Tech paper.

For veteran tech execs, clean-energy class offers a new beginning
By Efrain Viscarolasaga
Featured video

Per Suneby has been working in the corporate world since he graduated from Harvard Business School in 1979. But this summer he went back to school, taking classes and even field trips with 11 other well-known local executives through the Clean Energy Fellowship program. This week, he and his 11 classmates will take their final exams, making presentations to a panel of investors and clean energy insiders.

The program, which was designed by the New England Clean Energy Council (NECEC) and funded through the state’s Green Jobs Act passed earlier this year, will send 12 experienced entrepreneurs from other tech sectors into alternative energy — helping to fill a dearth of experienced executive talent in the new industry.

The program is expected to help fill the void, said industry insiders, but more will have to be done if the region’s maturing clean energy cluster is to become a national leader.

“This sector is going to grow at an extremely quick pace and the problem, which exists on all levels, is that it is going to be difficult to get the requisite number of people to run those companies,” said Nick d’Arbeloff, executive director of NECEC.

The alternative energy sector’s roughly 15,000 jobs statewide are expected to grow 20 percent per year for the next two to three years, most coming from startups and small companies, according to the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

The fellowship program aims to fill the executive pipeline by taking entrepreneurs and executives from more mature industries, such as software, biotechnology or networking, and giving them a foundation in alternative energy. The first group of fellows includes well-known local entrepreneurs such as Richard Daniels, a former Polaroid Corp. executive who helped to spin out coatings maker MultiLayer Coating Technologies LLC and then sold its key assets to Lowell-based Konarka Technologies Inc.; and Charles Digate, a former CEO of MathSoft Inc. and founder of past software startups Beyond Inc. and Convoq Inc.

The first class began its training in June, and this week, after a series of lectures, interviews and trips — including to the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Colorado — participants are finishing training with final presentations being made to a panel of investors.

Suneby, who has launched or been an executive at communications companies such as Indus River Networks Inc., Enterasys Networks Inc. and Chantry Networks Inc., said most of the fellows expect to continue on to early-stage ventures, where executives from the entrepreneurial side of the ledger are hard to find. “Energy, in a macro sense, is the biggest industry in the world, but it hasn’t been an area for small companies or startups,” he said. Because of its highly regulated and capital-intensive nature, “it’s a legacy industry based on legacy models.”

As the fellowship program continues to move forward — a new class is expected to be announced this fall — the local alternative energy pipeline is also being filled by executives outside the program and outside the region.
According to Leonard Vairo, the managing director for the local technology and clean tech practice of executive recruiting firm Russell Reynolds Associates, executives from the small-business units of large energy companies are beginning to look to Massachusetts and New England as an area with new opportunities.

“(Existing) companies are looking for executive talent, but so are private equity firms and startups, so the whole supply-and-demand scale is out of whack,” he said. “As a result, you are also going to see people coming from out of state who are attracted to the opportunity.”

Russell Reynolds, for example, recently recruited Chicago native and former Illinois utility executive Michael Metzner as CFO of Newton-based wind developer First Wind Holdings Inc., which last month filed to go public.

While the executive pipeline is slowly being filled, insiders expect the demand to continue to outstrip the supply for the next two to three years. Several of the fellowship graduates, including Suneby, hope to have new ventures up and running in the next year, but none have announced any specific plans.

Brandeis launches ‘Green’ MBA program [September 4, 2008]

Phyllis Reilly (not verified)
September 8th 2008, 1:28 pm

Leapfrog Effect nations, those developing nations that do not yet have the energy and other infrastructure, are the marketplace of America's future.

Leapfrog Effect Nations
Don't have to invent the technology
Only need the money to buy the technology
Get that money easily from global investors
Have more than 10 times as many people as the U.S.
Are nearly doubling their economies every 10 years
Want solutions to ecological and resource problems
Don't have existing infrastructure that has to be amortized

Americans can profit and succeed by recognizing the huge marketplace the Leapfrog Nations represent
This is not about foreign aid but about a market-driven need
More than 3 billion people are in this new marketplace
Leapfrog Nation's needs are often different than those in the developed nations
By focusing our attention on these needs we will help ourselves by reducing production costs and through innovations

A Win-Win Proposition for the World
Help solve the challenges of natural resource constraints
Limit global warming
Reduce the potential for wars
Solve the food crisis
Prevent a possible global recession
Help billions of people help themselves out of poverty

For more information please visit the Leapfrog Effect Foundation website

Ken Benjamin, Founder
Leapfrog Effect Foundation

Ken Benjamin, L... (not verified)
September 8th 2008, 11:26 am

Canada is having its own problems dealing with the emergence if ET. I live in Saint John, New Brunswick which is currently experiencing growth around becoming an "Energy Hub". Unfortunately, the growth is built around a new oil refinery, natural gas processing and a new nuclear reactor – very little talk about renewable “ET”. Four years ago I was asked, as a non-academic, to co-direct the MBA program at the local university. The entire program needed to be re-engineered and I proposed that we focus on the creation of a business institute that had a related design institute and technology institute and focus on creating and supporting “ET” entrepreneurs and businesses. Although they implemented components of the plan (courses on innovation and commercialization of products) the big picture of a sustainable ET ecosystem was not. Short-sited as the growth of the energy industry will be short-lived as ET knowledge workers will come in to town for the building of the new refinery and nuclear station but they will leave in 5- 10 years with no real transfer of skill or new enterprises.

Robert Davidson (not verified)
September 8th 2008, 8:58 am