How would your town spend 5.7 million dollars?

That’s the question citizens of Wildpoldsried, Germany have to answer every year. How did this little village in southern Germany produce so much revenue? In 1997, the Village Council and newly elected mayor decided to commit to an ambitious goal to create jobs, become more locally focused and generate more revenue. So naturally the citizens of Wildpoldsried wanted to come up with a plan that forced their town to invest in renewable energy, reduce water waste and emissions. By doing so, dozens of businesses popped up that were supported by local and national incentives.

This plan was created two later after the Village Council devised a strategic plan called “Wildpoldsried Innovative Leadership 2020” in 1999. There were three main pillars to this plan that focused on renewable energy and energy conservation, ecological construction of buildings and protecting water resources. The city’s power is generated by wind, biogas and solar. In total, they have built seven windmills and four biogas facilities, as well as constructed nine new government buildings that have solar panels installed on their roofs. There is also a city ordinance that was passed by the Village Council that requires all new homes that were built had to incorporate energy efficiency in the building plans. Already existing homes also have to go through a thermal scan to pinpoint locations where there are energy leaks. Fourteen years later the village now produces 321 percent more energy than they can consume.

When US states and cities are filing for bankruptcy, selling state capitol buildings and having forced furloughs, I wonder what these states and cities would do with 1 million dollars let alone 5.7 million dollars. This is why America needs to invest in clean renewable energy technology. There is millions of dollars to be saved every year, there is millions of dollars to generate every year and by the way, there is millions of tons of CO2 that can prevented from being released in the atmosphere.

But why has the US not been able to jump on this fast moving train that has almost already left the station and certain countries in Europe and China seem to be driving this train?  One expert “ attributed the Chinese industry’s low costs not to inexpensive labor in China — high-technology solar panel manufacturing is not labor-intensive — but rather to free or subsidized land from local governments, extensive tax breaks and other state assistance”.

On this Labor Day please ask yourself when is the American Government going to finally see that they need to step in, like Germany and China has done, to foster a national strategy that empowers local business and creates jobs?