Trend watcher Gerald Celente looks ahead and tells Living on Earth’s Jeff Young what environmental trends to watch for this year.
YOUNG: A new year is upon us. Have any predictions for what it might bring? Well, Gerald Celente does. Celente is in the prediction business as president of Trends Research Institute. He saw gourmet coffee coming before most of us had heard the word “Starbucks,” and he heard the first rumblings of an anti-globalization movement years before the Battle of Seattle….just a few of the trends he has accurately predicted. He is a man slightly ahead of his time, and he joins us now to talk about environmental trends for the year ‘06. Mr. Celente, welcome to Living on Earth.
CELENTE: Well, thanks for having me.
YOUNG: Let’s talk about energy prices…certainly, one where there’s been a mix of good and bad news. You had gas prices shooting through the roof, oil companies raking in record profits. What do you think is on the horizon for our coming year?
CELENTE: Necessity is the mother of invention. As oil prices continue to go higher, you’re going to start seeing a lot more venture capital, a lot more interest in alternative energies. It’s only a matter of time. To think that we’re in the 21st century using fossil fuels is, by its very nature, a fossil idea. So, beyond the popular wind power and solar power, we’re looking at real energy breakthroughs that are going to make a huge difference, such as hydreno power, charge clusters, permanent magnets, zero-point energy, and even cold fusion. And as Wall Street and venture capitalists understand the profits to be made, both for the planet and for their pocketbook, you’re going to start seeing a lot more money moving into that area.
YOUNG: Is there a particular trigger point where people start being willing to invest in renewables?
CELENTE: When gasoline prices hit $4 a gallon, you’re going to see a lot of scrambling, both from Wall Street and Washington, to find an alternative energy. And here’s why: when people can’t go out and buy things – remember, two-thirds of our gross domestic product is generated by consumer spending – you’re going to see the government and investors start putting serious money into alternative energy solutions. Because if they don’t, and the consumer pocketbook closes up and only spends money on the necessities – food, clothing, and shelter, and not retail products – America is going to be in really deep trouble.
YOUNG: Big items in the news in the past year had to do with the threat of looming disease. We had news about mad cow disease, we have the continuing concern about avian flu. How’s that going to affect our behavior in the coming year, do you think?
CELENTE: You’re going to see a lot of people being a lot more cautious, and probably picking up habits they have in more populated countries like China. You know, where people will start wearing more masks. “Immune system buildup”--that’s going to be a big buzz word of the future. You’re also going to start seeing more focus on vitamins and therapies that can make people stay healthy in a world where you’re more susceptible to so many different strains and viruses and diseases that are potentially pandemic-forming. So, we’re going to see a lot more concentration on anything having to do with health, fitness, nutrition. Spiritual and emotional as well as physical nutrition, as well.
YOUNG: Generally speaking, where do you see the environmental movement going in the coming year? Or is it going to move at all?
CELENTE: We see a rebirth in the environmental movement that we haven’t seen probably over in the last decade. It’s a very interesting aspect to look at. As the economy’s boomed, for some reason there’s less of an interest in environmentalism. As the economy slows down, people become environmental again. So we saw the real last big push of the environment in the early 1990s – the economy wasn’t doing well--celebrating Earth Day 1990, 20 year anniversary. And now, where the economies are slowing down again, fuel costs are going up, people’s pocketbooks are being pinched, and again there is environmental interest. We think that this is going to be a big launch pad, 2006, for major environmental movement.
YOUNG: Gerald Celente is president of The Trends Research Institute. Thanks very much for talking with us.
CELENTE: Well, thank you for having me.
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