Friday, October 24, 2008

Trust Washington? A call for a new Green Politics

Two discussions of the subject of trust came to my attention today. The most prominent was that of Alan Greenspan who told Congressional committee of his mistake leading to the current economic fiasco. He trusted the executives of major banks to act to protect their shareholders. They did not. You know the rest of that one, at least as far as the millipede we call the economy has dropped it's shoes.

Then, I found a discussion of the problems the environment where after years of environmental activism, the planet is in worse shape today than ever before and issues a call for a new Green Politics. This time the author, James Gustave Speth, finds a misplaced trust to be contributory to this situation. He cites another.
For example, Mark Dowie in his 1995 book Losing Ground notes that the national environmental organizations crafted an agenda and pursued a strategy based on the civil authority and good faith of the federal government. "Therein," he believes, "lies the inherent weakness and vulnerability of the environmental movement. Civil authority and good faith regarding the environment have proven to be chimeras in Washington." Dowie argues that the national environmental groups also "misread and underestimate[d] the fury of their antagonists."
Speth defines his new politics as confrontational, disobedient but nonviolent. It might just work if we had a new Dr. Martin Luther King.


Philip H. said...

You know, as a federal employee, who works in environmental protection and restoration, I an REALLY FED UP with people parroting the "we can't trust the federal government to protect the environment" line. The federal employees- civil servants, contractors, interns, and the like - we're working as hard as we can, within the constraints of money and politics, to make our environment better. We're not the problem, and if the Greens really want to do something, stop attacking us, and keep on attacking the politicians who refuse to back us, to give us the money to do our jobs, and who are more afraid of loosing their corporate donors then loosing talented committed individuals like myself.

Wes said...

Hey, Phil. Maybe I should of said trust Congress, or trust policy wonks running departments.

If you go back over my posts, I have made special reference to those who use scientific reasoning rather than political ideology to make decisions, people like Dr. Patricia Dehmer from DOE's Office of Science.

On the other hand, you should probably wear a flack jacket as not everyone has laser guided invective in their arsenal. Flack tends to fly all over the place.

When I got PO'd at Richard Pombo, I went to work to put him out to pasture. Same goes for Don Young and a few others of that ilk, ideologues who need a lot of money. However, we can't rely on Federal Programs to be successful for all of the reasons that you listed... so the alternative is to start locally, do it ourselves and just maybe open up enough new jobs that people like you also have alternatives.