Happy Earth Day 2005. Yes, I know, I’m a day late, but it doesnt matter, because technically, Every day is earth day, as the saying goes. Well, I did my part. I volunteered at EarthFest 2005 in Shawnee Mission Park. Unfortunately I got stuck as the parking attendant so I didnt get to interact with as many people as I wanted to until a little later in the day when I walked around all the booths. I must admit, Earth day is one of my favoritest holidays in the year. I love seeing so many people together- especially children- who are so passionate about the importance of sustaining our environment. Oh I also met 3 Wolverines there. Go Blue.
Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus wrote an article called the Death of Environmentalism, that is important for all environmentalists to read. It provokes those of us who self designate ourselves as “environmentalists” to wake up and smell the Global Warming.
From Shellenberger’s article:
“But in their public campaigns, not one of America’s environmental leaders is articulating a vision of the future commensurate with the magnitude of the crisis. Instead they are promoting technical policy fixes like pollution controls and higher vehicle mileage standards — proposals that provide neither the popular inspiration nor the political alliances the community needs to deal with the problem.”
Shellenberger continues to make a strong case that we are not yet moving beyond stop-gap solutions to address the causes of global warming. Japan and the Pacific Rim countries are finding better recipes, but the U.S. and Europe are just cooking more. I agree with Shellenberger.
There was a piece on NPR on Earth Day that was very interesting about environmentalists. Bryan Welch from Mother Earth News magazine discussed environmentalism from a partisan perspective. He suggested that the “environment” has turned into a liberal banner. Moreover, conservatives have equated environmentalism with extremism.
Even moderate conservatives often are led to have a cynical view of environmentalists, inventing terms like “tree hugger”. I’d like to point out that this is a horrible opinion to have. The earth is shared by everyone regardless of party affiliation. One realizes this sense of togetherness when they go to these earth day events, that it really is up to everyone to make a difference– whether government, industry, or consumers.
The number of Americans who agreed that, “Most of the people actively involved in environmental groups are extremists, not reasonable people,” leapt from 32 percent in 1996 to 41 percent in 2000.
The takeaway I think people should take from the two articles: The environment encompasses a lot more than an external system, and human beings are not separate or superior to the “natural world”. Taking this Gaia-esque view of the world will reduce the implications of framing the global warming as an environmental problem (and hopefully, viewed more as a human problem that needs to be discussed prior to irrelevant discussions about terrorism that effect substantially smaller percentage of the population.)