The belief of many that environmentalism is anti-capitalism and anti-human is not accurate. In fact, in many instances environmentalist are concerned about the impact of environmental issues on humans and their wellbeing. A more environmentally conscience government would not lead to an economic downturn. I believe it would have the opposite effect, especially in the long term. There is a rapidly expanding market for sustainable development and clean energy. Implementing and designing new green technologies would create many new jobs and stimulate the economy.
Some have suggested raising fossil fuel prices to cause Americans to become more reliant on renewable energy. I believe this would be a good idea. Primarily, it would mean removing costly government subsidies from fossil fuels like gas and coal. These subsidies could then be applied to renewable energies like solar panels. One of the main arguments against solar energy is the cost of the panels. Subsidizing solar energy would make the panels more affordable. Consumers would also become more aware of the real cost of gas; when the extra five or six dollars a gallon of gas is no longer being externalized onto Uncle Sam, consumers will be much more likely to search for more affordable means of transportation (this could be as simple as carpooling!).
I don’t believe the world can run on “wind power and wishes”, but I think wind, combined with solar, geothermal, tidal, and other forms of renewable energy will be able to keep the gears turning. Sweden is able to harness energy from trash (maybe there is something to those wishes…), I think this shows clearly solutions exist; they just need to be found and implemented.