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2007 04 19
Can A Sustainable Ontario Become A World Economic Tiger?

About a generation ago, small, resource poor Singapore evolved into an "economic tiger" after it decided to be a world centre of excellence for high-tech research and development. At the time, as some of you may remember, their plan was laughed at by many of the world's economists and established technology players. The region's resulting economic success proved that Singapore's forward-thinking leaders were right.

Step into today's Canada and listen to John Baird's reasons why we cannot possibly embrace sustainability - it will kill our economy - the pundits say. The last reduction of carbon emissions on this scale, quote some, was when the Soviet Union collapsed. Get their meta-message? Carbon reduction equals economic and social collapse you tree-hugging fools. Of course, they are tragically wrong but that doesn't matter. Resource industries will dominate policy-making and business leaders from that sector will retire wealthy, develop a green conscience, and be heard saying in documentaries how they knew it all along and did the best they could to change the system from within. So it goes.

What they don't understand is that the green revolution is more than just a social trend: it is a disruptive technological trend too. What does that mean? Like the early days of high-tech when Singapore saw the future and it was computer-based, many entrepreneurs and investors around the globe are looking forward and seeing economic opportunity in being green. In fact, many argue that sustainable technology is the greatest economic opportunity ever encountered.

Where are our leaders? Right now they are saying we can't go forward. We have to maintain the status-quo. Economic peril awaits us if we try to be green.

In some ways they are right. Sizing up new markets is risky. They might just be wrong. But what is there to lose? We all know that the oil boom only has another generation or so before it collapses. What comes after that and who will then be the dominant economic players? If we act now Ontario and Canada could be an economic tiger the like of which we can only imagine. But we have to risk change and embrace innovation. Who will lead us into the future?

[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 04/19 at 12:17 PM

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