If I were able to control the agenda for GIWG, [GP California Green Issues Working Group] I would do the following:I agree that this needs further explanation.
- take a limited set of issues... probably only 2... Global Warming and Water.
- I would begin to prepare position statements, focused on California, even more focused on community activism, and I would target them toward candidates: what should I say we should be doing locally, state-wide about this issue?. I would then target them toward press releases, actions and/or tabling material and event illustrating that the Green Party is the one telling the truth and showing how this will be good for the community... not just the sacrifice of a penitent.
There are interesting parallels between the narrative of the state of modern man that is the basis of most environmental rhetoric and the biblical story of the Garden of Eden. The environmental rhetoric is that the world would be great is man stopped doing all of those awful things to it. We could then return to a state of harmony. In the religious narrative, the fall from grace was due to the knowledge of good and evil. In the environmental narrative the fall from grace is due to the pollution we push out into the world in the pursuit of economic advantage and a modern lifestyle.
I have problems with both in that they place man outside of nature. Until modern times, man's goal was to control nature and put it to work in the service of his needs. We are beginning to understand that the world does not work that way, but not many have yet put that understanding to work in the realm of politics. It is too frightening to think about because it mean that you have to rethink historical perceptions and that is never easy nor comfortable.
My transition from a conservative Republican dedicated to Conservation to a Green came from my own development of a viewpoint that I would best describe a that of deep ecology. In this, it was not the philosophy of Arne Naess nor the activism of Judi Bari that changed my thinking but rather the science of Frijtof Capra and the reading of his book The Web of Life. If you are a Green and have not read Capra, you should. He was also co-author (with Charlene Spretnak) of the 1984 book Green Politics.
I have, for a long time, been frustrated by some aspects of the environmental movement, in particular those whose thinking does not go beyond "stop" or "limit" to provide the alternatives. In too many cases, that becomes a task that we are all too willing to leave for someone else to do.
- When you stop logging the Humboldt County redwoods, how do you build a new, local economy? It would have been more effective to work on providing the alternative from the beginning, in other words community based sustainable economics.
- If you stop snowmobiles in Yellowstone, what do you do to replace that mode of tourist transportation during the winter months? Again it is a local economic issue. For a long time, there was no answer. At least, this year, the Sierra Club will have one winter trip to Yellowstone. Capacity 9.
There are two fundamental concepts that are behind the Green Movement: an understanding of the truth of deep ecology and a strong sense of social justice. They should inform and guide all that we do. When we lose either we are no longer green.