Sunday, November 16, 2008

Good Green Advice

I've been reading Green Collar Economy by Van Jones. In this book, Jones suggests that the environmental movement... and I am suggesting the Green Party... needs to change it's narrative. In biblical terms, Jones says that the story of environmental activism has been that of David and Goliath, of the individual against the big, bad corporation, Erin Brockovich, the career of Ralph Nader.

While there is a need for a David at time, he did not save the earth, Noah did. Jones suggests that we need to change our goals from those of David to those of Noah and offers a some principles to explain what that means. I would agree. I have challenged more than a few to consider global warming and to ask themselves "What would Noah do?" Click Read more! for a list and my interpretation of what that means for the Green Party of California.

Jones suggest that we need to deal with:

* Fewer "issues," and more solutions.
* Fewer "demands, " more goals.
* Fewer "targets, " more partners.
* Less "accusation, " more confession.
* Less "cheap patriotism," more deep patriotism.

This is a rich enough field that I will take his principles one at a time.

Fewer "issues".

Jones states the obvious when he says that "defining any cause based on a negative can lead to a great deal of negativity." Negativity may not get you to your goal. I offer the example of the efforts to stop all new nuclear power plants. While the rationale is obvious to those of us who would act on this, then answer is always "then how are you going to meet our energy needs." Would it not not be better to spend the effort on Green Solutions that make the nuclear option unnecessary?

If I look at the major problems facing California today: the annual conflagrations that sweep the state, the annual budgetary impasse in Sacramento as symptomatic of a failed fiscal policy, the every day growing problems to supply our state, both urban and rural with a supply of water for agriculture, industry and households, I find a singular lack of Green Solutions.

Jones quotes Julia Butterfly Hill as saying "Many of us have gotten so good at defining what we are against that what we are against has started to define us."

Over the next two years, we have an opportunity to make a major contribution in California by becoming advocates for sensible solutions at the nexus of global warming, energy and the economy. The risks of doing this are few. Politics as usual will not deliver solutions for the people, only carve up the economic pie in a different way. Republicans are afraid of the ghost of Howard Jarvis and will block any effort to introduce new taxes unless they are disguised as usage fees. Democrats will never back down on funding of government services where the service delivery is backed by large scale union demands.

In the past summer, California's legislature was over 90 days late in delivering a budget. When they did, we were already so far into a recession that they must have know it would not hold. However the pressure to pass a budget, any budget, was so great that they compromised by postponing the day of reckoning until they would all be out of office and someone else would have to clean up the mess.

While there is need to continue participating in the drive for equality under the law, something that those for Prop 8 lied about, we have to find the energy to do more than one thing at a time.

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