Today, the mills and factories that once lined the city's three glorious rivers are gone and some say Pittsburgh's best days are behind us. I say Pittsburgh's best days could be right around the corner. I believe that we have the same type of opportunity our fore-bearers did in the 1860s and 1870s. Instead of investing in heavy rail, coal and building polluting factories, we can create a green industrial revolution that will invest in a new economy that will provide opportunity for all people, while protecting our fragile environment.I have been called an "eternal optimist," and I hope that Pittsburgh is on the verge of its next economic revolution, but I have my reservations. It's not because of the lack of bright young entrepreneurs and support from non-profits and universities. As I mentioned in a few previous posts there are some promising young green companies in the burgh, particularly in the biofuels space, but what we are lacking is the visionary leadership from our public officials. What is the green vision for Pittsburgh? Instead of being a follower, and a laggard, we need to start thinking ahead of other cities and regions.
We need big bold ideas. Instead of touting Zip Car, which is a fine service, why don't we start a program where our Mayor and councilman use plug-in electric hybrid vehicles? We have some promising young biofuels companies here in Pittsburgh, and plenty of natural gas in our backyard - so let's start talking about converting our entire fleet of buses to both natural gas and biodiesel. Both would give the port authority a significant reduction in green house gas emissions - not to mention improve our air quality and health of our citizens. Our leaders need to take the energy and enthusiasm from people like Khari, Nate Doyno and his guys over at SCB and GTECH, and the great people over at the green building alliance, and start translating it into sound public policy that will help Pittsburgh become Cleanenergyburgh.