An article in Time magazine suggests that "a recession could be the first step to a truly green economy". There is no question that we need a strong catalyst to start developing a green economy -- not just for environmental reasons, but also to replace the rapidly vanishing blue-collar jobs. Perhaps the current economic metldown and prospects of a long recession can be seen as an opportunity to make a paradigm shift. The article talks about a Green Deal -- a modern version of the New Deal consisting of smart subsidies for alternative energy and green buildings, retraining workers for green jobs, more research in clean tech, and a carbon tax -- and making 'green' a fundamental economic choice as opposed to just a personal lifestyle choice.
Along the same lines, Thomas Friedman in the New York Times says "we can't afford a financial bailout that also isn't a green buildup."