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Put your imagination back to work...

Do you remember when we you were six years old how a mundane trip to the grocery store could become an amazing journey into another world? Everything around you including the car ride and the people at the store were all part of one great big adventure. One of my favorite things to do was sneak off and make a castle out of the paper towels and toilet paper packages.

Back then our actions were not subject to preconceived ideas or concepts. We lived in a world that had unlimited potential and opportunity. What we didn’t know we simple filled in with our imaginations.

As we matured our world took on a more substantial form. Through school we were taught things like 1+1=2 and that one molecule of water is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Our developing minds replaced our imagination with pre-conceived concepts and second hand ideas that were taught to us by family, friends, and educators.

Now that we are adults much of what we understand about the world is based upon assumptions. For a long time I assumed that oil companies, coal companies, and other big businesses were the ones who were going to lead us into the future with new technology and innovations. After all they have the multi-billion dollar research and development budgets. But what I have come to realize is that expecting an oil company to change the way they do business is kind of like believing in the Easter Bunny. The clean energy of the future is definitely not going to come from Chevron, ExxonMobil, or BP. Think about it… if your profits today are greater than any other business in the history of the world, would you want to change? Could you change your business and still be legally responsible to your shareholders?

Albert Einstein said, “The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." With that in mind why is it that we are expecting the same people to bail us out of our environmental and financial meltdown as the ones who got us into it?

Now more than ever we need to tap into our creative nature as humans. The challenges ahead are overwhelming. We have spent the past century borrowing from the future with little regard to sustainability. No one can deny that things need to change to ensure our growth and survivability. If we can dream about a cleaner and brighter future then we can achieve it.

There is an old Chinese proverb, which teaches us that every crisis has two elements danger and opportunity. And at the heart of every crisis there is an opportunity. The solutions to the problems we face today are just starting to take root in the minds of the business, academic, and political leaders of the future. And as President Barrack Obama said during his Victory Speech in Chicago on November 5th 2008, “This is just the first step of a long journey.”