Book excerpt from Save Gas, Save the Planet
My ninth trip to teach a workshop at Two World Trade Center never happened because of the great tragedy 9/11. For years Sun Microsystems, my former employer and now part of Oracle, had invited me to conduct a series of workshops about technology and strategy. Much of the Wall Street ran on Sun servers, Java applications, and Sun network technology. Reliability, performance, and the ability to recover from disaster were reasons that New York continued to run after the disaster. Sun’s tagline was reality – “The Network is the Computer.”
On September 11, 2001, thanks to heroes like Avel Villanueva the hundreds of people working for Sun Microsystems in Two World Trade Center all quickly evacuated the building and survived. When Avel saw the damage and fire at One World Trade Center, he paged everyone at Sun to leave Two World Trade Center as quickly, “Please, with calmness, go to the nearest exit. This is not a drill. Get out.” He repeated this from the reception area several times. Only after several pages and inspecting the vast 25th and 26th floors did Avel personally leave. Three minutes later the second plane hit Two World Trade Center.
Although it must have been difficult to continue working after such a tragedy, the people at Sun understood that New York depended on their ability to keep working. Within 24 hours almost all Sun employees were doing their jobs at other Sun locations, homes, even nearby cafes. Sun effectively used its own networking technology with an iWork program that enables employees to work at home, at an office near their home, or be highly productive anywhere with a mobile device and wireless network connection.
Flexwork is one way that we are now more secure. The vital work of millions can continue even if a building cannot be accessed or part of a city is closed. Wireless and Web 2 enable collaboration, communication, and knowledge work to continue anytime and anywhere. People are most effective working some days at one location, other times at home, others at a customer or supplier location. We can take advantage of the new flexible workplace solutions to annually save millions of wasted hours and billions of dollars of fuel. Flexible Work Report
Energy Security Action
Both 9/11 and the massive oil spill destruction of our oceans and coastal cities remind us that we need to be less dependent on oil. Ninety-five percent of our transportation fuel is from oil that is refined into gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. We pay for that oil by transferring trillions of our dollars to countries hostile to the United States.
Americans are taking action to reduce our dependency on oil. They are driving less by taking advantage of employer programs such as flexwork, ride sharing, and public transportation. When driving, it is increasingly with high mileage and electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt that use little or no gasoline. Two car households are buying fuel efficient cars and increasingly keeping their gas guzzlers parked.
These cars will be fueled by electricity produced in America. Electric cars will primarily be smart charged at night and take advantage of our high growth of wind, solar, and other renewable energy. We have enough wind to power the nation including transportation. We have enough solar. Yes, it will take time, money, high-voltage lines to major markets, and added jobs. Green is producing green. While many areas of our economy are currently suffering, renewable energy and energy efficiency are growing rapidly creating jobs and corporate profits.
Real security requires more than airport checks, less foreign oil, and cleaner transportation. Real security starts with the commitment to give our children a better world. Future generations deserve nourishing food, clean water, and protection from disease. Global warming has now put over one billion at risk of not getting enough water and food. Glaciers are disappearing. Water systems are stressed as oceans rise and water tables deplete. Hurricanes attack our coastal cities with increased intensity. Draughts, heat waves, and wild fires weaken our ability to grow food at affordable prices.
Yes, there are those in Congress who are chanting “drill, drill, drill,” but we cannot end our addiction to oil with more oil. Elected to represent their people, not special interests, these legislators threaten to stop funding renewable energy unless Big Oil can drill anywhere it pleases.
In Mr. Friedman’s Hot, Flat, and Crowded he recalls a Chinese proverb, “When the wind changes direction, there are those who build walls and those who build windmills.” America can renew its world leadership with innovative solutions to our energy crisis. We can lead in wind power, solar, geothermal, building efficiency, materials that are lighter and stronger, zero emission cars, and zero emission cities. From information technology to clean technology, from flexwork to sustainable communities, let’s build windmills not walls.
We can be inspired by heroes like Avel Villanueva who got everyone to safety. We can also celebrate the millions of ordinary heroes who are building a more secure future for our children by living a more sustainable life.
Copyright © John Addison. Permission to reproduce with preservation of this copyright notice and link to original article. John Addison is the author of Save Gas, Save the Planet.