Written by Marc Courtenay
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
Image Author: Diliff
You are "the choir" dear reader, and I don't mean to be preaching to you. As a reader of Seeing Green, you know that we try to do some responsible reporting of the Green Revolution and how it is impacting the business and financial worlds.
I see companies like First Solar (Nasdaq:FSLR) which at one point within the last 12 months traded at $317 now trading at around $140. A partially "geothermal energy" company like Ormat Techologies (NYSE:ORA) which now trades for around $30, had a 52-week high of $57.
Green investing isn't as attractive when oil and natural gas prices are down 70% from their highs. The United States Oil ETF (NYSE:USO) which in July 2008 was trading around $119 now sells for a paltry $31-a-share. How long all this will last is difficult to predict, but alternative energy and technologies are going to have a comeback "one fine day"...but that could be 6 months from now or 6 years from now. For the sake of the planet, let's hope it will be no longer than 6 months.
One aspect of the Green Revolution we can control is how we think and the habits we develop. I'm not only speaking of recycling, buying sustainable sources of energy and making sure we always try to buy organic sources of food. I'm also speaking about healthy thinking, having a life worth living, and choosing to be happy during these difficult times wrought with pessimism.
Pessimism and negative thinking is toxic to our minds, our body and eventually to our macro-environment. Focusing on our setbacks and our losses instead of our blessings and what we have left to be grateful for will poison you almost as fast as DDT or other noxious pesticides.
Roger Housden, in his wonderful book "Seven Sins for a Life Worth Living" wrote the following that typifies part of what I mean when I write about a "Green Mentality":
"The last time you were full of joy (when was that?) you didn't think to debate with yourself whether you were doing the right thing or not. Joy is full-bodied, whole-hearted, all-encompassing. In a moment of joy you are no longer a kingdom divided--between right and wrong, this way or that way, should or shouldn't. The divisions, if they do come, come only later, when the moment has passed."
"With all its abundance of achievement, just where is America today? It is the economic engine of the world. It is the consumption giant of the world. But do we take pleasure in all this consumption? Is it giving us what we need? Are we really enjoying ourselves yet? America is by far the greatest consumer per capita in the world of anti-depressants, cocaine, and heroine.
"A quarter-million therapists are kept busy all over the country. Not everyone, it seems, is happy. And I don't just mean those who have to live on the streets. Think of all those comfortable lives of quiet desperation, where the only consolation is a new car or a new fur coat.
"In Brazil or in India [if you haven't seen it yet, take time to see the motion picture "Slumdog Millionaire"] you will see people who have nothing yet are brimming with life. They smile a lot, they laugh out loud. They jump and skip.
"In France, in Spain, in Italy, people have different priorities. They don't want to be number one. They are not as productive as Americans; their economies are good enough but not booming. Yet they seem to know what the good life is. They eat the best food on the planet, drink the best wine, take the longest vacations, surround themselves with spectacular architecture, and come up with some of the best art, dance and music.
"In short, they enjoy themselves. No wonder they have fewer heart attacks over there, even though they consume more fat and a lot more wine. And they talk to each other. On the street, in the subway car. When someone enters a restaurant in Italy, they are likely to greet the whole room. The Mediterranean is still, as yet, a civilized world. What do they know that we don't?"
Maybe they know, like the Danish, Germans, Swedes and Dutch know, that if you are happy, optimistic, friendly and proactive, you'll want electricity that is generated by the wind and the sun. Perhaps you'll build and support more public mass transit and transportation. Recycling will be a natural act of grace. You will bicycle and walk more instead of driving everywhere. And you'll see the world as a place worth preserving.
My premise is simple: If you are a grateful, optimistic, kind and happy person, you'll be much more likely to care about preserving our environment and restoring our planet to a condition that is cleaner, healthier and more pristine.
In future articles I hope to share inspiring examples of people just like this who were recently featured in one of my favorite magazines "ODE", which was started in the Netherlands by a group who I believe typifies a "Green Mentality".
The world is in a financial mess right now and everyone of us has been impacted, some much more than others. But if you and I choose to be happy and thankful no matter what our circumstances or losses, I believe we will eventually attract into our lives the good health and prosperity that helps make "Life Worth Living" and so much more enjoyable.
I wish each of you a sustainably "green mentality" from this day forward. The choice is ours.