Ecotrust (USA) hosted a public lecture in Portland on March 9 from one of the world’s most-read columnists and author of Hot, Flat and Crowded.

New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman told a packed auditorium at Portland State University that the United States needs to rebuild its economy by making "green" its competitive advantage.

“If Portland can out-green Vancouver," Friedman said, "if Vancouver can out-green Seattle, if Seattle can out-green Minneapolis, that is, produce an environment that's more innovative around green technologies and is a healthier environment, I think it's going to be a source of sustainable competitive advantage. So what I'm about is trying to stimulate those kinds of competitions – I call it the ‘earth race'.”

Click here for a story from Oregon Public Broadcasting about Friedman’s lecture.

Before his lecture, Friedman talked with Oregon Gov. Ted Kulogoski, PSU President Wim Wievel and Ecotrust (USA) President Spencer Beebe, who briefed the celebrity-columnist on Oregon’s green initiatives. After the lecture, Ecotrust (USA) held a Q&A session with Friedman featuring some 120 VIPs. The session focused on how the United States can jump-start its stalled and declining economy by focusing on green technologies and innovation. 

It was, said Ecotrust spokesman Seth Walker, "a change-making day."