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E-M:/ Environmentalism

Finally, a decent mainstrem analysis of "The Death of Environmentalism..."
"Instead of a broad, values-based vision, [traditional environmentalists a]re offering up narrow policy fixes. Instead of reaching out to young people of all backgrounds, they're preaching to a middle-aged, upper-middle-class choir. Instead of looking at the plight of inner cities and rural areas, they're focusing on urban sprawl and wild lands.  Instead of connecting environmental concerns to unemployment, outsourcing, rising health care costs, rising gas prices, and rising disease rates -- in short, to the issues that matter most to tens of millions of people -- they're talking a language almost no one speaks: CAFE standards, NSR rules, POPs treaties."
Published on Thursday, April 21, 2005 by the Boston Globe
The Environment's New Bling
by Chip Giller
Environmentalism, long a movement accused of Chicken Little scare tactics and doomsday prophesying, recently reached new depths of gloominess when it announced the death of itself.

At a meeting of the Environmental Grantmakers Association, two movement insiders, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, presented an obituary-cum-call-to-arms titled, bluntly, ''The Death of Environmentalism." Like most public deaths, this one was sensational, at least within environmental circles, which have been buzzing ever since with ripostes and postmortems.

There's no question that the folks in the undertaker camp have a point.

In cities nationwide, young professionals are giving environmentalism a new cultural cachet. They're enjoying the benefits of compact, well-designed neighborhoods where it's easy to walk and take public transportation. They're buying shares in Community Supported Agriculture. They're trading in their SUVs for minis. They're finding that many of the hippest products clothes, accessories, home furnishings, appliances are made with environmental concerns in mind.

Sustainability is the new bling. In rural America, residents are recognizing the potential of wind power, solar energy, biodiesel, and other green industries to revitalize their communities. Farmers are discovering the advantages of precision agriculture. Communities are fighting the stench, pollution, and economic ravages of factory farms.

Sustainability is the new self-reliance. In churches, mosques, and temples, religious leaders are taking seriously their responsibility as stewards of God's creation. They are retrofitting their places of worship for energy efficiency, spreading the word to their congregations, banding together to pressure politicians, and asking, ''What would Jesus drive?"

Sustainability is the new grace. In minority and low-income communities all over the country, civil rights activists are linking disparate struggles -- poverty, criminal justice, transportation, climate change, health -- to continue the path-breaking work of the environmental-justice movement. Sustainability is the new dream.

In the marketplace, green technologies and industries are among the fastest growing and most innovative developments.


Tom Stephens
Guild/Sugar Law Center
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