Sunday, January 16, 2005

Environmentalism and the environment

Environmentalism and the environment--are they even related?

In a spate of recent articles, nicely analzyed by Katherine Mieszkowki in Salon ("Dead movement walking?") environmentalists admit that their efforts have had precious little effect on stopping massive degradation of the global and national environment. The causes, including econonomic development of the third world and rapacious greed on the part of the the United States, are well documented, but no one seems to know how to get governments or voters to take action.

The situation for environmentalists is much like that confronting the Democratic Party. Should they become more passionate, radical, and focused, or should they continue their current, ineffective, strategy of trying to appeal to middle-of-the-roaders--who show no compunctions about screwing them and siding with the conservatives on every key issue.

The difference between the environmentalists and the Democrats is that the environmentalists are willing to admit they've got a problem. If you aren't a Salon subscriber and can't access Mieszkowki's article, check out the website of Michael Shellenberger and the recent comments of Sierra Club president Carl Pope. The Salon article also allows you to download PDFs of some other insightful speeches. This might be the time to subscribe to Salon Premium ($35 a year includes some great benefits including free audio books and free mp3s).

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