I wrote this article for the Huffington Post. You can read it in its original context here.
The Old Mantra
For a long time one of the defining mantras of the environmental movement has been “Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.” It’s the kind of simple message that is easy to remember and makes for fantastic bumper sticker reading, yet it’s also a message that utterly fails to inspire. The problem with the “Three R’s” of environmentalism is that they are representative of flawed thinking: that in order to reconcile humans with nature, humans must restrict themselves while engaging in several select token activities, such as recycling, changing light bulbs, or buying hybrid cars. Yet these activities are just that: token. They can’t begin to scratch the surface of global climate, energy, poverty, water, and health issues.
A New Mantra
All this is not to say that we should not do what we can in our personal lives to affect change; rather, it means that we need a new, inspiring message, one that presents global problems as opportunities, galvanizes people to action, and unleashes human potential and creativity. We simply won’t “Reduce. Reuse. and Recycle” our way to Utopia. The scale of global problems requires a message that invites big thinking and reaches all segments of society. So I propose a new mantra, not just for environmentalists, but for all those working toward the common good. It is a mantra that just so happens to still be simple and concise enough to fit on a bumper sticker: Invent. Invest. Implement.