Ann Hyphen (trancendenz) wrote in green_vale,
Ann Hyphen
trancendenz
green_vale

Some of you guys might be interested in reading this opinion piece. It basically outlines why current environmentalist tactics are failing to gain support from a wider audience/bolster our base.

You might be suprised what the article points to as the problems with modern environmentalism. (just to forewarn: it's not anti-environmentalism and is in fact trying to give solutions to get real changes to happen. Also, if you are right-wing, conservative, libertarian, etc. you might be offended by the very obvious bias of this 2 year old opinion piece. Just ignore that and try to see the message that the authors are portraying).

http://oracle.cas.muohio.edu/ies/students2005/DeathOfEnvironmentalism.pdf

I might have posted this before, but I finally got around to reading it (it's required for my program).



I'm almost positive that the authors have got at least something right in the 20+ pages. But I also feel there was a huge dichotomy in their own opinions. In one case they are faulting political candidates for giving up on environmentalists and then in a few more paragraphs saying how environmentalists are the ones that are giving up on politics.

I think it makes a great point that we, as environmentalists, need to remember that the world is composed of people as well. That green solutions/thinking/ideals benefit a world of which humans are part. I often think about my home state, Michigan, which was mentioned several times when they talked about the "upper Midwest auto industry". That's Michigan. I see my state dying in it's current condition and yearning for new jobs. Doesn't it make sense to invest in new jobs for these people in companies that are offering green alternatives? Sure, we can pretend that simply recycling, cleaning up our neighborhoods, riding a bicycle, driving less, and a whole host of individual efforts to reduce pollution are going to work. How can they work when our neighbors aren't doing the same and *can't* do the same because of economic or socioeconomic situations?

The auto industry has failed and this article, I don't think, makes it clear enough why. It's not because Americans want green cars. Although many of us do, the rest of America is content with their SUV or truck for their *needs* (these needs being carting children around and/or using it for business such as construction, etc). While we are trying to convince people to buy smaller, more efficient cars, the auto industry isn't coming up with a new fleet of green SUVs or at least greener. But the real reason it's dying is because unions worked too well. They got their workers 30 dollars an hour with great benefits for them and their children while those workers rarely saved and spent right away.

How are we going to convince auto makers to go green when their workers are struggling to try and get back their pensions and their 30 dollars an hour? They aren't. And I think that's why the article is so key to our future understanding of cooperation as opposed to demanding change where it's not at all probable for a company (i.e. as the article says: legislation right now is just not enough and in many cases, isn't working).

You may be reading this and saying "well, I'm glad the auto industry is failing because it means people won't be able to pollute as much". Well, if that's your opinion, then fine, but I agree with the article. In the long run, we'll all be losers with that attitude because those people who don't have jobs, health insurance, and their families will suffer and will be less likely to put the health of the earth in the front of their "values list". How will we succeed then?

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