A couple of months back I posted about a promising geoengineering development here, Save the Planet – plant a tree or feed a krill, that in my view represents a major milestone in our efforts at climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. (Just so happens it’s among the top read posts on this blog) The actual story reads much like a Grisham novel filled with mystery and intrigue and shadowy characters operating on society’s fringes. The main character in the plot, Russ George, a very smart, enterprising entrepreneur, with an obvious respect and love for the environment and penchant for solving big problems, has been much maligned by the establishment and liberal media for his futuristic experiment involving ocean fertilizing. Over on his blog, Mr. George recounts a “bizarre” story of recently being contacted by someone at the U.S. EPA, at the request of the Canadian Government, to find out what the heck he is up to.
While the Canadian’s response is bizarre, EPA’s isn’t. I’m not at all surprised to learn that the EPA emissary was reportedly quite excited and fascinated by his research. One leaf does not a tree make, but I think this one intriguing exchange is encouraging and reflects an openness by EPA to consider various options to address climate change. Contrary to popular belief, and despite the fact EPA is a regulatory agency with a penchant for regulating, it’s also an agency that has a keen interest in seeking out and advancing, where appropriate, innovative approaches that can both protect the environment and protect jobs. Few individuals have the opportunity to interact with EPA officials and staff and understand that the agency isn’t always the out-of-touch, job-crushing monster it’s often made out to be. As my good friend, Tracy Mehan, likes to point out, bureaucracies are good at many things, but change is not one of them. Like an ocean-liner, steering EPA, or any other 17,000 employee agency for that matter, is not easy work – and any change in direction must begin long in advance. Yet with the right leadership, the agency will change and can continue to serve as an instrument of good. I’m hopeful that Gina McCarthy, once confirmed, will hold on tightly with both hands and steer that ship in a good direction. Lastly, I’m also pleased to see Mr. George’s new blog and his efforts to spread ideas for positive change and look forward to following his efforts and big ideas. Good stuff.