One of the most memorable quotes from Barack Obama came from a casual behind-the-scenes moment during the campaign. Candidate Obama, in an unguarded moment, recounted a question from a debate moderator who asked him what he’d personally done to go green. Mr. Obama’s frustration with the premise of this question was captured by Newsweek: “The truth is … we can’t solve global warming because I *#!@* changed light bulbs in my house,” said the candidate. “It’s because of something collective.”
For me, a guy who’s probably spent too much time calculating the costs and benefits of going compact fluorescent, I felt a little stupid hearing that. After all, everywhere you turn there’s another “Ten Tips to Green Your Life” list, which I often try to follow. Yet, there was candidate Obama, claiming that all the individual efforts that have captured the public’s imagination won’t make the necessary difference unless we act collectively.