I have used this forum to comment on the fact that the Green Party of California appears to have lost interest in Environmental Issues. This is especially true of issues that are evidenced in rural areas of the state. One person forwarded a notice about Global Warming to a GP email list today and added this comment. "Why isn't the GP organizing demonstrations and policy statements about this? We have lost our environmental focus."
It is not just because most members are from urban areas. Kevin McKeown responded to the elist with a reference to the Sustainable City Plan for the City of Santa Monica where he is a council member. I havn't made it all the way through that, but it seems to be right on track. It focuses on urban environmental issues. That is the right thing for local involvement and all Greens should be advocating for a local version of this.
Kevin went on to comment that "our California cities are where the MOST environmental work needs to be done." One way to look at this is to examine the fact that people cause environmental damage and most people live in Cities. It is, however, necessary to understand what rural and urban mean in a quantitative way. According to the California State Rural Health Association and the California Communities Program at UC Davis, California is highly urbanized.
- California has 58 counties; only three are entirely urban. Fifty-five of California’s counties have substantial rural areas
- Twenty-nine of California’s counties are considered totally rural.
- 94% of the population live in urban areas, while just 6% of the population (1.8 million)live in rural areas
- 32% of the rural population live in counties that are at least 91% urban.
The other thing is that most urban Greens will focus on the social justice issues that they hear about every day, to the extent that environmental issues never make it up to the level of getting excited, upset, pissed off enough to do something. To begin with, most environmental issues can not be really understood without some study. Who really knows what should be done to ensure that the environment of the California Delta is protected, that the agricultural grocery cart of the Central Valley gets enough irrigation water and the elite of suburbia can water their lawns and fill their pools? Who really knows what actions we, and collectively we through our government, should be taking concerning Global Warming?
So, we just argue about things that we can easily grasp, personalities, tactics, the keep score or settling scores of political life and meanwhile those who can claim to be stakeholders in the planning process will make all of the decisions. When it comes to water, we are all stakeholders. When it comes to clean air, we are ALL stakeholders.
It may be time to listen to Al Gore, if you don't fall asleep. Global Warming is real.