Sustainable megamall? There are two words you wouldn't imagine going together. But for Robert Congel they do. He came to a realization a few years back while visiting Normandy beach and "looking at those pure white graves of tens of thousands of kids that died for freedom": ''Today our kids are dying in a war for oil. Petroleum addiction is destroying our country, our economy, our environment." A Bush Republican, he set out to raise $20 billion to create a green megamall called DestiNY USA in Syracuse, New York.

The notion that a gargantuan facility, presumably with Mall of America–sized parking ramps and amenities, can be both a temple of consumerism and a bastion of green thinking may seem preposterous, but Congel makes that claim. He says the mall will create 200,000 jobs, through countless shops and restaurants, 80,000 hotel rooms, a 40,000-seat arena and a Broadway-style theater, not to mention an "extensive research facility for testing advanced technologies and a 200-acre recreational biosphere complete with springlike temperatures and an artificial river for kayaking." More, the mall will be built without using a drop of petroleum, and it'll be completely energy independent. He says the ambitious plan, which will use solar, wind, and fuel cell technology, will bump national solar-electric capacity by 10 percent. How he aims to do it is through massive fundraising, corporate alliances with Intel, Microsoft, Clear Channel Communications, and others, and plenty of tax breaks.

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