Tom Friedman at my alma mater

I went to my alma mater, Miami University, to see Tom Friedman speak about his new book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded. Tom thinks that we – as in America – have to lead the way on the coming ET (Energy Technology) revolution.

His timing to visit Miami and speak about energy couldn’t have been more ironic; half of the students were still without power courtesy of the remnants of Hurricane Ike. In fact, 1,000 Miami students participated in front of the university president’s house and protested the decision to not cancel classes.

Energy – or the lack thereof – is a hot topic at Miami right now.

In front of the library I heard an interesting conversation:

“Got power yet?” says girl #1.

“Yeah,” says girl #2, “we’ve got power, but no internet…might as well not have power.”

So, during Friedman’s lecture there were a lot of heads nodding in agreement when he mentioned that 1.6 billion people in the world are without access to power and are at a great disadvantage to the “plugged in world.”

As I jotted down notes with a pen, the girl in front of me typed them into her iPhone. Here are some highlights:

Friedman on hurricanes:

Because of global warming and the climate change it causes, “we don’t the difference between an act of God and an act of man.”

Friedman on oil and freedom:

As the price of oil goes up the pace of freedom decreases.

On loss of biodiversity

We lose one species every 20 minutes.

On the green revolution:

“You’ll know it’s a revolution when someone gets hurt. Right now it’s not a revolution, but a party.” The someone he specifically mentioned were the oil companies.

The ET revolution is different from the IT revolution because the IT revolution, giving us things like cell phone, changed our lives, but whether our lights are powered by coal, oil, or the sun, we still have light. The government needs to shape the market (prices, regulation) for ET to succeed.

I’ve added a link to Friedman’s NY Times page under “Who I’m Reading.” On anything globalization he’s an invaluable resource who seems to be friends with every major CEO on Earth.

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