Sunday, October 14, 2007

Death of Environmentalism

One of the more important "green" statements in the last few years was the widely distributed, often attacked publication, The Death of Environmentalism by Michael Schellenberger and Ted Nordhaus. It made the point that the old practices of the environmental movement, confrontation and legal action, had run their course and that new techniques, net methods of activism were required.

I would argue that something very different is going on. The Environmental Movement is no longer such an outside thing that it only has to rely on such tactics as Schellenberger and Nordhas decry. Rather, we have gotten to the point where everyone realizes that the environmental impact needs to be a part of every decision, no matter how small, and it is being judged as not being important enough to be the major criteria for making decisions.

I understood from an email this morning that the Green Party is considering to disband the short lived Eco-Action Committee. I had similar thoughts and it should be considered, if nor no other reason that to re-justify is existence and re-focus its energy. For some, this is enough of a blunder that they are ready to leave the Green Party. I find it ironic that this happens in the very week when the opponents of Global Warming, or Climate Change if you prefer, have been honored with the Nobel Peace Prize.

I have sent an email to some of GPCA's national delegates. I did not get to them all. In that email I argued that the committee should not be disbanded, but rather provided with new leadership. When the leadership (CoCo) of a Committee does not want to do what the activist members of the committee think is important, it is a recipe for failure. Yet, time and again this is what is happening.

In the case of the Eco-Action Committee, this became a concern that by making statements regarding ecological policy and practices, the committee was over stepping its authority and infringing on the prerogative of the platform committee. Since one CoCo, Mike Ewall, is involved in both we devolved into a bureaucratic morass from which nothing emerged and the leading activists left. I did myself to spend more time focusing on the issues of water in CA rather than try to combat the party bureaucracy.

The issue was clearly stated by Mike:
I've heard plenty of ideas from people who want to write position papers and make everyone in the party adhere to them, or from those who feel that the world or mass media will care if a national committee of the GPUS takes a position on something. Honestly, I don't have the time to waste on such efforts and I've been hoping that something more productive might come out of this committee.
Mike, to his credit, offered to step aside as CoCo. I hope that someone takes him up on that. However, in response to this comment, one of the other members replied:
Dear Mike,
This is the end of the "Green" party. A bunch of extremely selfish, egotistical, politically brain dead idiots that shoot themselves in the foot even more than GWBush.
I obviously do not agree that this is the end of the "Green" party. There is a lot that is going on, but we are losing the identity that comes with having the word "Green" in our name and I am not sure that anything is going to change. Environmental action is not a driving force in the decision making in our leadership. It may be assumed. But that is allowing another party to adopt the mantle of being the "green" party, albeit a corporate green party.

I would ask our California Delegates not to vote to disband the Eco-Action Committee but rather to provide it with new leadership.

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