Although the current state of affairs seems predisposed in dealing with the global banking and equities crisis, another crisis has the potential to dominate our lives much more in the long-term - energy. The supply of fossil fuels will not last forever, and so the race for finding viable replacements to gas, oil, and coal before these become unaffordable to the average person is on.

The heart of business has been and always will be innovation. Therefore, it’s not hard to believe that numerous business schools have begun taking the lead in planning for a post-oil world. According to an article on CNN, this is going to become an increasing trend.  Institutions such as Judge Business School at Cambridge University are committed to the movement away from dependence on fossil fuels. Judge recently held a three-day pioneering conference called Entrepreneurship for a Zero Carbon Society, which brought together the best minds in ecological entrepreneurship to share both ideas as well as business cards.

The event was devised and organized by a 2007 MBA graduate from Judge, Marisah Teh. Marisah said: "I could see that despite an emerging awareness of climate change and a flurry of events on the topic, concerted efforts to stimulate wider debate that resulted in the generation and investment of concrete solutions had, to date, been limited." The concentration of high-tech firms in and around the Cambridge area meant the school was ideally situated for such a conference, Teh explained.

The conference brought together prominent forces from all sides of the energy debate, including senior executives from oil giant BP and major gas and electricity supplier EDF Energy, as well as the head of a leading solar panel manufacturer, and a former senior scientific advisor to the World Bank. Students at the school had a direct involvement in the conference: In addition to discussing the issues among themselves, the delegates were shown presentations of ideas from student projects, as well as examples of technologies from local businesses.

With the trend of rising of gas prices as well as a looming recession, it is likely that we will see an increased role of universities in the quest for energy solutions, as well as a collaboration between participatory universities and leading oil companies in developing innovative technology to remove our need for oil dependency. After all, nothing lasts forever - especially not oil at the rate our civilization is consuming it.

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