This week I am attending The Wall Street Journal’s ECO:nomics conference in Santa Barbara, where top CEOs, entrepreneurs, industry experts and policymakers have come together to discuss, dissect and debate “The Future of Business and the Environment.”
This is the first time I’ve been part of this annual interactive event, and I thoroughly enjoy being part of such a comprehensive and influential forum. Particularly intriguing is the fact that there are no speeches scheduled. In fact, the conference’s tagline is: “No PowerPoint. No Pontificating. No Hot Air!”
Meanwhile, today I was fortunate to lead a luncheon roundtable discussion – “Urban Mobility and the Integration of Alternative Vehicle Technology” – which included some seriously thought-provoking points-of-view from several participants, including Amory Lovins, cofounder, chairman and chief scientist at The Rocky Mountain Institute. From urban planning and consumer marketing to transportation infrastructure and politics, urban mobility is, and will continue to be, a passionate topic for a wide variety sectors.
Another thoughtful visionary at the conference – J. Craig Venter, Chairman and President of the J. Craig Venter Institute – also delivered a provocative message yesterday. His noted that in life, as in medicine, prevention is always better than a cure; yet societies tend to only react to crises after the fact. In short, it’s not enough to merely change technologies and fuels … we must also help educate and change consumer behavior.
Next week, I will provide more details about the conference, with its laser-like focus on profitability, innovation and smarter uses of energy. In addition, The Wall Street Journal intends to publish the deliberations in its print edition and on its website.