And I imagine you are too. You’ve chosen to be there!
So it only stands to reason that we’d want to preserve and better our
But there’s a professional quandary therein: opportunities in
cleantech aren’t always in our backyards. We can’t always be satisfied
with looking globally and acting locally when it comes to cleantech,
because important things ARE indeed happening around the planet.
Which is a curious phenomenon to watch here in San Francisco—one of
the most important technology hubs in the world. With so much scientific
horsepower, financial capital and entrepreneurial drive clustered here,
some must think that everything that happens here is important to pay
attention to. But there’s occasional noise in the signal.
Case in point: a recent blog detailed a perceived downturn in Silicon Valley
green jobs, suggesting a local surplus of green collar workers lamented
recently at a local conference was representative.
But no, there are plenty of cleantech/greentech jobs, according to
the green jobs site
GreenjobsGo (which catalogs more than 6,000 green jobs worldwide
posted in the last 3 months, unlike average green job boards that each
list a few hundred.) They’re just not necessarily in California. They’re
elsewhere, like Europe and China.
There’s a danger in thinking that what’s happening in cleantech in
our local areas is representative of the rest of the world. But
cleantech isn’t a provincial phenomenon. It’s now a worldwide economic
response to global challenges that’s creating global opportunities.
That’s borne out by the data: witness the rise of Asia, overtaking
North America in cleantech in several important metrics. China accounted
for 72 percent of the global cleantech IPO proceeds raised in 2009 (see
hits VC deal record in 2009). Almost half the
companies that went public in cleantech in 2009 were in China. The
largest cleantech IPO of 2009? China Longyuan Electric Power Group,
which raised $2.23 billion.
As someone who gets to travel around the world speaking with clients
and investors, and interviewing cutting edge clean technology
entrepreneurs, I’m convinced that the decentralized nature of cleantech
today—with innovation happening in unlikely places, like algae breakthroughs in Australia and nuclear research in Vancouver—is unlike any other
technical revolution of the past, e.g. Arab mathematics, Chinese
gunpowder or the Industrial Revolution in Europe.
The takeaway? If you’re in this global business of clean technology,
embrace possibilities outside where you call home. Get out of your
comfort zone and start looking afield for inspiration and/or new
In other words, think locally, but act globally.