Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Energizing Responsible Transportation Infrastructure and Implications for Ecosystemic and Participatory Leadership

Hi Colleagues,

SW 3rd St. & Wells Ave. S. in downtown Renton (above)
City infrastructure depends on the innovation, people-power, and responsible use of energy.  

Transportation Links to Energy & Infrastructure

Transportation infrastructure is nothing new for Renton.  Did you know that Renton maintains its own airport?  To add to this transportation cool factor, Renton recently unveiled charging stations [video], connecting transportation to energy use.  ECOtality, a public-private partnership with the Department of Energy, funded the project with a grant.  I applaud the city for its environmental conscientiousness and encourage wisdom and mindfulness of energy displacement in planning future projects.  Find a charging station near you.

Transportation & Energy Implications

Nonetheless we must challenge our assumptions; with energy, moving from one source to another still leaves a footprint.  We can try to minimize and offset that footprint and take care of the resources that provide said energy source (e.g., waterways that provide hydroelectric power or fields and climate that provide landscape and power for wind turbines).  We must also take care the cultural implications of how and where we "harness" energy.  With our constituency we must be informed, creative, and willing to generate partnerships where together we overlap and tap innovative energy sources without exhausting or misusing one.  

Grassroots efforts such as wind co-ops and local solar powered product manufacturers, distributors, nearby businessesadopters assist in this regard.  It's equally important to respond to concerns and research outcomes as it is to advocate non-carbon-based energy sources.  Inquiring from potential adopters (formerly known as consumers) to learn their concerns and anxieties help pave way for mainstream and responsible use, answer if an effort will realize the desired outcomes or not, and/or show where to invest in R&D, such as in designing batteries that maintain their charge.  Transition from perception to expectation: If adopters worry about a battery sustaining a charge or changing perceptions of convenience then they may dislike charging stations or there may be a need for many recharging stations in closer proximity.  Concerns over centralizing or overwhelming a power source must be addressed also.

Transportation & Energy Recommendations

These concerns snowball into access and dependency, and thus cost, issues.  Many dynamics intersect with the practical.  So localities must learn what its constituents want, fear, and expect and how said power source will be organized, distributed, and paid for regarding energy use and access to determine and measure impact.  Put another way, a little research benefits energy implementation strategies.  Organizing these efforts needs a participatory leadership approach with a systemic appreciation for how harnessing such energy sources impacts the ecosystem.  

These efforts need a global perspective on how transportation infrastructure, energy, and use impact our daily economic, environmentally conscientious, and employed lives.  We must contribute our ideas and gifts and elect leaders who propose a positive vision for our transportation infrastructure, demonstrate ecosystemic awareness, and collaborate via participatory leadership in a global economy.

Transportation & Energy Summary

So we take care how we proceed.  Efforts to envision and build and sustain responsible and helpful energy and transportation infrastructure remain yet another reason why I Love Renton and Renton is a great place to live, work, and play.  Come experience why Renton is Ahead of the Curve in energy and transportation!