Green Zombies

Is the American environmental movement all but dead as a meaningful force for change? You have to wonder, after reading this Washington Post story from earlier in the week. Or, as the article suggests, are there larger forces arrayed against Greens, such as the deep economic funk much of America is still trying to shake off?

Five years ago, status quo environmentalism was given a similar obituary, which got a lot of hoopla.

Big Greens are like zombies, though. Just ask the donors, who can’t fight them off. But now, with Big Green’s inability to feed and propogate off the nation’s biggest environmental disaster, you have to wonder if their days are numbered.

13 Responses to “Green Zombies”

  1. Steve Bloom says:

    In the race toward death, journalism appears to be well in the lead.

    SNIP 

  2. Keith Kloor says:

    Steve, since you are a long-time activist with the Sierra Club, you might qualify as one of the last of the dead-enders.

  3. Steve Bloom says:

    That’s hilarious, Keith.  Being described as a dead-ender by a Broderist is truly the height of irony.

    BTW, for the record, a) the bulk of my environmental work has been outside the Club and b) most of my work in the Club has been directed toward trying to get it to be more activist.  I’m pretty much in agreement with everything bad anyone says about the Club and “Big Green” generally, although not with all the solutions.           

  4. AK says:

    IMO a major part of the problem is that the environmental movement has become too entangled with leftist (socialist/communitarian) politics.  Most voters (IMO) simply expect them to be using any environmental issues they can find to push their political agenda, and since Climategate they don’t trust the scientists (most of whom are basically leftist) not to at least tweak their scientific presentations, if not outright lie, in favor of their agenda.
     
    Worse yet, there are fundamental contradictions within the environmental agenda.  Get off fossil carbon, but don’t build new fission power plants, don’t build major dams, don’t even experiment with remediation, etc.  (See the ETC Group’s website for example.)
     
    IMO the basic environmental agenda is actually at cross-purposes with the anti-fossil-carbon “we’re killing the climate!” agenda.  Don’t assume that the mass of voters are too stupid to see this, even if they don’t normally make this point in polls.  (For that matter, has that issue ever been addressed in poll questions?  And if it were, how could we be sure the results wouldn’t reflect the new awareness of the contradiction, rather than an existing awareness?)
     
    Another point to consider is that a large proportion, probably a majority of voters (at least in the US) consider it their right to believe whatever they want:  they don’t really understand the existence of an objective universe independent of their beliefs.  For such people, an argument convincing them they don’t want to believe in “global warming” is much more effective than any scientific talk, because they just dismiss that as “what scientists believe”.

  5. Keith Kloor says:

    Steve (4):

    I stand corrected–except for the Broderist thing, which I don’t get.

    AK (4):

    The establishment Greens are hardly leftist. They might be aligned with democrats, but the Democratic party and its policies are pretty centrist. That’s a legacy of the Clinton years.

  6. AK says:

    @Keith Kloor #5
     
    Well, IMO the majority of climate activists are leftist.  Isn’t there a good deal of overlap with the establishment Greens?  At least in the US?  (Perhaps things are different in Britain?)
     

  7. laursaurus says:

    OT newsflash:
    The BP gusher is now plugged!!!
    Thanks be to God!
    and the heroes who accomplished this monumental task 😀

  8. Keith Kloor says:

    AK, environmentalists are “leftists” to the Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh types here in the U.S. That’s a convenient label to tar them as out of the mainstream, but in fact, establishment greens are very much part of the mainstream, and by that I mean the big national groups, like EDF, Audubon, Sierra club, NRDC, et al, which have a major lobbying presence in DC.

    #7, what does your comment have to do with this post, and in any case, what does god have to do with plugging the hole?

  9. laursaurus says:

    “But now, with Big Green’s inability to feed and propogate off the nation’s biggest environmental disaster, you have to wonder if their days are numbered.”
    I thought you were referring to the BP Gulf Coast disaster.
    Many prayers have been answered. My gratitude goes to the heroes who made it happen.
    Even Hitchens uses the expression “Thank God!” My apologies to any atheists who were offended.
    (note to self: do not wish everyone a “Merry Christmas” when December rolls around)

  10. AK says:

    “AK, environmentalists are “leftists” to the Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh types here in the U.S. That’s a convenient label to tar them as out of the mainstream, but in fact, establishment greens are very much part of the mainstream, and by that I mean the big national groups, like EDF, Audubon, Sierra club, NRDC, et al, which have a major lobbying presence in DC.”
     
    Just because they’re part of the mainstream doesn’t mean they’re not leftist.  I’ve always perceived the Sierra Club as being anti-corporate, with left-leaning sympathies.  A very quick scan of the EDF and NRDC websites shows enough support for cap-and-trade that I suppose they might be called right-wing.  Personally, I consider cap-and-trade an ideal opportunity for expanding the corporate fascism already present in the world economy, but I suppose fascists (corporate or otherwise) couldn’t be called left-wing.
     
    Even so, supporters of cap-and-trade are equally suspect WRT twisting the science in support of their own agenda.  Not to mention I’ve seen several strong condemnations of cap-and-trade from definitely left-wing supporters of “urgent action”, which things probably just help convince the public that it’s just one more big fight over economic ideology.  (Which IMO it probably is, regardless of how good the science is.)

  11. willard says:

    It took 4 comments to use the C-word.
     
    Not bad!

  12. Tom Fuller says:

    We’ll know the answer when they file this year’s report on contributions. The corporations will probably hang on just for the ‘please don’t eat us’ factor. If individual contributions die off, then the answer is probably yes.

  13. JamesG says:

    They convinced shell and BP to build massive solar panel plants. I’d call that an unlikely win. Maybe you’ve failed to notice that environmentalists have swapped the beards and placards for sharp suit consultancy. Consequently they aren’t outside the building anymore shouting up, they are inside, at the table, being listened to.

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