Thursday, November 12, 2009


Andrew Revkin was in town today speaking on the question, "9 Billion people + 1 Earth = ?"
It is the essential question that he addresses on his Blog "Dot Earth," and I believe an important one ... maybe the quintessential question of our time.

His ideas point to how the success of any answer addressing global population growth is dependent on the broader cooperation of every stakeholder in the proposition.

China cannot succeed without Europe, and the US, and So America, and others. The developed world cannot adequately address the problem of global warming and eradicating poverty, unilaterally.

The solution will take the efforts and best thinking of all parties and will require consensus and collaboration.

From that broader premise flows the local application ... Oregon's problems are solved only through broad consensus, collaboration, risk-sharing and accountability. Government alone cannot create the economic opportunity needed to bring us out of this recession - nor can the entirety of the burden be borne solely by the private sector, equity or institutional finance. It will take the knowledge and collaborative application of solutions that are born of discussion, of mutually beneficial agreements, and of mutual risk-sharing.

Al Gore states that it is a question of political will ... until our elected officials look to the long range solution, and decouple that solution from short term gains, will we make any progress. I know that Umpqua Bank is wrestling with this issue. How do we create alternative forms of agreement between public, private, and institutional sources of financing that are prudent in approach, limit the downside risk, and spur economic growth and development, both in terms of jobs and in terms of opportunity for the communities in which we live? The answer is one of recognizing the connectedness of our people and those institutions which rely on those people to thrive.

Research, Academia, Finance, Government, Service, and Manufacturing all have the same goal. Strengthening the foundation of talent and of production that will keep our economy growing. It is time to enlist the input of all stakeholders and to do so regularly ... with the singular focus of creating economic opportunity, strengthening educational programs, and sharing in what works and what has proven to be problematic.

And so I challenge each of us to reach out to those of similar and differing opinions to have an open conversation about our path through the current economic difficulties. What role and responsibility will each of us accept in our path forward? What will our commitment be to each other for our mutual benefit? We can take the long view and grow together ... we must. In so doing, we will insure our future place in the forefront of growth and prosperity.