Monday, December 04, 2006

Global Greens

I find it somewhat ironic that Greens are so adamant in their opposition to globalization yet affirm the power of the Global Green movement. At least, to even have a Global Green Conference, we seem to need at least international (global) transportation companies / national airlines.

So, what is it about globalization that is so terribly wrong and which makes Thomas Friedman into an object of derision? After all, Friedman made quite a stir when commenting that "Green is the new Red, White and Blue." Of course he meant small-g green, a statement about ecology and technology and the role that it should play in the economy. Friedman even called for the creation of a Geo-Green Party.

[My apologies for the NY Times Select links... they now charge to view their archives but a web search will find lots of people who comment on both Friedman articles.]

Just taking a quick look at the work of the GPCA, I find that Friedman has some validity in making this call. There is little that the GPCA, or the GPUS, is doing in a positive manner to provide a vision of a Green future in either ecological or economic terms. The list of activities from the GPCA is relatively small.
  • Working to block the expansion of WarMart.
  • Campaigning for a higher minimum wage.
The evidence of a lack of concern for similar questions is abundant, but nothing is more clear than the fact that there are no "coordinators" for either Community Based Sustainable Economics or Ecology & Earth Stewardship within the Green Issues Working Group. It is as if, having written a good platform statement we are saying "been there, done that" and what is next.

If there is one thing about the Nature of Order, it is the interconnectedness of things. My best example came from the pages of High Country News. I read there of a company named Wheat Montana. A vertically integrated family business, they practice a "green" agriculture, keep the processing of the wheat to flour in the local community, and even have their own bakeries supporting a regional distribution. Knowing this, I started to look for Wheat Montana flour in my local stores. When I finally found it, we used it for baking our own bread and found the quality to be worth its slight extra cost. The other side of the coin is that the only store carrying it is WalMart.

I know that there are Green activists who push for specific programs. Anyone participating in the Rural Green discussion list has been well indoctrinated in the terminology of Georgian Economics, especially the phrases:
  • privatize what is socialized (negative externalities)
  • socialize what is privatized (economic rent)
The same individuals take this approach on the national Eco-Action committee email list.

I also know that there are individual, community efforts in the Northwestern counties (Mendocino, Humboldt) of California to establish a truly localized economy.

I still maintain that there is no easily understood vision of what a Green World would be like, no shared common understanding of what makes us unique. If one were to look at even the more intelligent (not Rush Limbaugh) Republican sites, they still use the term "greenies" to indicate a group of people who are against everything.

So what are we for?

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