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By Jackie Hanson


August 26, 2009 (San Diego) – What would it take for California to become energy self-sustaining? As surfers caught waves just a few yards away, Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi spoke at the new Scripps Seaside Forum in La Jolla on August 5th, offering ideas to help fix California’s environment, economy, and educational system by linking research, production and sustainability. The event was organized by United Green, a division of the nonprofit Heartland Coalition, East County Magazine’s publisher.

Garamendi, called for a “new revolution” that would: 1) change energy patterns with new technology and products, 2) create jobs; thousands, even millions of jobs, as all trades renew to come in line with new technology, and 3) generate wealth with long-term investing.


“If we are not investing in education, we are throwing away our future.” stated Garamendi, a member of the U.C. Board of Regents. This new revolution calls for an educated workforce , not only to research, but to also produce what we invent, he added. We must be ready to upgrade our products to stay ahead of cheaper producers who inevitably undercut our ideas, he emphasized. The Lieutenant Governor also noted that by investing more in prisons than education, we guarantee that many drop-outs end up incarcerated because they lack gainful employment options.


Among his other “new revolution” ideas:


  • Rethink stimulus programs so that venture capitalists share some of the risk for start-ups in the new technology.


  • Pull back out-sourced jobs. We need to bring innovation to our manufacturing sector so we have minds that can invent, produce and reinvent products.


  • Make changes in our tax and tariff laws to encourage swifter change.


  • Reduce emissions and adapt. “This must be done,” he insisted. Adjust our thinking to consider the “true cost” of methods that will lead to catastrophic costs in the future, such as coal.


  • Consider the life-cycle cost of buildings as we build to a high standard and eliminate waste of resources and energy.


  • Conserve water and promote its recycling.


Garamendi reminded us that adversity presents a need for action and an opportunity for change. If we do it right, recovery from our current problems will lead to a new industrial revolution based on renewable energy (unlike the one fueled by carbon that helped create many problems we face today). However, he pointed out, we must expand opportunities and invest in a learning curve of research.


With $3 billion in stimulus money we could fund research into bio fuels, wave energy, improved solar and wind options, and more. If that seems like a lot of money, remember that$ 5 billion currently goes to oil, where it’s not needed, he observed. Why perpetuate a failing system when the money can be used to invigorate the economy with better solutions?


Editor’s note: John Garamendi is running to fill a seat for California in the U.S. House of Representatives in the November 2010 election.


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