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Old 04-22-2005, 08:41 AM   #1
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the future of environmentalism

Environmentalists Mull Future of Movement

By TERENCE CHEA, Associated Press Writer

SAN FRANCISCO - As the world marks the 35th anniversary of Earth Day on Friday, environmentalists are debating the future of a movement that seems to be losing the battle for public opinion.

President Bush's re-election, the failure to slow global warming and the large number of Americans who dismiss them as tree-hugging extremists have environmental leaders looking for new approaches.

And while polls show most Americans want clean air, clean water and wildlife protection, environmental issues rank low on their list of priorities — behind jobs, health care, education and national security.

"There's this paradox where Americans hold these views, but when it comes time to take action, there are many, many issues that trump environmental concerns," said Peter Teague, environmental programs director at the Nathan Cummings Foundation.

Some think it's a message problem — that environmental groups simply need to improve their communication with the voting public. Others are calling for more fundamental changes in how the groups operate.

The challenge goes beyond the environmental movement, said George Lakoff, a University of California, Berkeley linguistics professor who has written about how language colors political discourse.

Lakoff argues that the entire public agenda has been seized by what he calls a "right-wing ideological political movement that's extremely powerful and well-funded."

The Bush administration's environmental philosophy has centered on the idea that most environmental decisions are better made by the marketplace, landowners and state and local governments.

And certain proposals that the Bush administration has floated — such as changes to the Clean Air Act — would lead to weaker regulations than required by laws already in place, many environmentalists argue.

Many green leaders say they deserve some of the blame for the situation.

Bush "was re-elected in a campaign in which neither candidate talked much about the environment," said Buck Parker, executive director of Earthjustice, who chairs a coalition of 30 national environmental organizations called the "Green Group."

It wasn't always this way.

In the decade after Sen. Gaylord Nelson, D-Wis., started the first Earth Day with a series of teach-ins on April 22, 1970, environmental activists achieved some of their biggest victories — the passage of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and Environmental Policy Act.

Lately, environmental groups have been fighting to hold on to the gains of the 1970s and 1980s, but the battles have not been resonating with the voting public.

To win public support, leaders say they are trying to present the problems and potential solutions in language that connects to people's lives.

"We haven't done a good job communicating about the solutions," said Carl Pope, who heads the Sierra Club.

Many environmental groups are also finding new allies outside their old political coalitions.



The Sierra Club has paired up with ranchers and hunters against increased oil and gas development in some Western states. The environmental law firm Earthjustice is working with Hispanic groups and public health advocates to fight air pollution in California's Central Valley, with American Indians to restore salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest, and with native Hawaiians to protect wildlife in Hawaii.

"We're building bridges and finding how you can work with other organizations that don't define themselves as environmentalists," said Earthjustice's Parker.

Others believe more fundamental changes are necessary. Last fall, pollster Ted Nordhaus and public relations consultant Michael Shellenberger prompted a heated debate with their paper called "The Death of Environmentalism."

"What the environmental movement has failed to do is give Americans a compelling sense of what's in a post-global-warming world for them," Nordhaus said. "We live in an aspirational culture. Gloom and doom narratives don't work. We need to give Americans a vision of the world that is optimistic and hopeful."

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...ronmentalism_2
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Old 04-22-2005, 10:09 AM   #2
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I think there's some great points in this article. The problems with the environment need to be shown in a light that allows every day people to see how it affects them — either their health, their pocketbook or whatever. I also agree the movment needs to not seem as "tree hugging extremists." That's only going to attract other "tree hugging extremists."
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Old 04-22-2005, 10:33 AM   #3
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there are indeed many problems with the environmental movement, we talk about this in enviro science alot. it's really depressing, that there's so much basic info the world needs to know to make things better but these extremists take all the press.
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Old 04-22-2005, 01:01 PM   #4
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I can't stand Bush's environmental policies, they're the worst I've ever seen. I've been an environmentalist for years, and yes, the movement has problems. It's frustrating.
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Old 04-22-2005, 01:55 PM   #5
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It seemed as if the late 80's and all of the 90's there were huge forward steps as far as bringing awareness and bringing change to the environment, and now in the past 5 years we've made some big steps backwards.

(At least here in America)
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Old 04-22-2005, 03:07 PM   #6
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Ronald Reagan's environmental policies were nothing to write home about. His Secretary of the Interior, James Watt, was almost a caricature of an anti-environmentalist. Clinton's environmental policy was quite good; Al Gore, of course, wrote a famous book, "Earth in the Balance" about the environment and he had alot of clout in environmental matters during the Clinton Administration. Then we got Bush and the current deplorable environmental policies. This stuff is pissing me off.
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Old 04-22-2005, 05:20 PM   #7
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Re: the future of environmentalism

Quote:
Originally posted by all_i_want

Lakoff argues that the entire public agenda has been seized by what he calls a "right-wing ideological political movement that's extremely powerful and well-funded."

The Bush administration's environmental philosophy has centered on the idea that most environmental decisions are better made by the marketplace, landowners and state and local governments.

_2[/url]
That "ideological political movement" would be the world's gonna end soon and I am going up to heaven thing, right?
Well, of course people who believe in the rapture don't give a rat's ass about the earth. They are really not planning on being here for long, and have better things to do like be on the winning side of the biggest war of all time...(god vs. satan) Yes, I am sure that is the stuff of G.W.'s wettest dream: bombing the hell out of this planet and then enjoying a lovely meal and a round of golf in white man heaven....
Arghh. Everyday I read something about this planet rotting away and it seems like we can never do enough. And what's so wrong with hugging a tree? I mean, has anyone here ever tried it? It's kind of fun.....
In fact, I remember seeing Lord of the Rings, the second one , for the first time and watching Treebeard and the Ents smashing apart Saruman's tower and thinking, that should really happen to the white house one day!
The earth will only hold us for so long while we consume her without a thought. What happens when she lets go?
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Old 04-22-2005, 05:54 PM   #8
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The earth is a 4.5 billion year old ball of rock and metal that has survived innumerable collisions and upsets throughout it's history. I do not think that it is threatened by a few hundred years of insane apes running around on it's surface sticking CO2 back in the atmosphere.
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Old 04-22-2005, 05:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
The earth is a 4.5 billion year old ball of rock and metal that has survived innumerable collisions and upsets throughout it's history. I do not think that it is threatened by a few hundred years of insane apes running around on it's surface sticking CO2 back in the atmosphere.
But how long has human life occupied it? The effects are pretty obvious.
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Old 04-22-2005, 06:03 PM   #10
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Yes but those effects are not gigantic forever world changing problems, we have accelerated processes and may have upset many feedback mechanisms but that is not going to destroy the world, it will change it.
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Old 04-22-2005, 07:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Yes but those effects are not gigantic forever world changing problems, we have accelerated processes and may have upset many feedback mechanisms but that is not going to destroy the world, it will change it.
But will humans evolve quick enough to handle? Of course the earth will but will we? Environmentalism is all about future generations, it's not really about the planet.
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Old 04-22-2005, 08:11 PM   #12
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No of course we will not evolve quick enough to become perfectly adapted to change but we never have, we will do what we have always done and use technology to help us survive, just like we did when man expanded into colder conditions and used furs or constructed shelter. We will not destroy the planet, it will still be perfectly livable for mankind and other creatures and as conditions change the biosphere will too. I think that our reliance on fossil fuels will also decrease over time and if it really is a problem we can begin geosequestering our carbon emissions from power plants.

I think that the anti-nuclear and anti-GM food aspects of the green movement show how dodgy it can be, we have technologies that can cut CO2 emissions and improve agricultual yields while decreasing pesticide use and they are opposed by many environmentalist groups off the bat because they could pose a possible risk.
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Old 04-23-2005, 12:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
No of course we will not evolve quick enough to become perfectly adapted to change but we never have, we will do what we have always done and use technology to help us survive, just like we did when man expanded into colder conditions and used furs or constructed shelter. We will not destroy the planet, it will still be perfectly livable for mankind and other creatures and as conditions change the biosphere will too. I think that our reliance on fossil fuels will also decrease over time and if it really is a problem we can begin geosequestering our carbon emissions from power plants.

I think that the anti-nuclear and anti-GM food aspects of the green movement show how dodgy it can be, we have technologies that can cut CO2 emissions and improve agricultual yields while decreasing pesticide use and they are opposed by many environmentalist groups off the bat because they could pose a possible risk.
Given your view I just picture a whole generation living underground to protect themselves from the sun and all having breathing apparatuses. I think we can do better.
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Old 04-23-2005, 01:59 AM   #14
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What extreme level are you shooting at, I am all for environmental protections and solutions however I am against the radical anti-human and anti-technology aspects of the environmentalist movement. Reduction and elimination of CFC's, research into nuclear fusion, hydrogen fuel cells, geosequestering carbon emissions are types of things that I think are worthwhile endevours that can lead to positive environmental solutions. I think that the best way to protect the environment is through the development of marketable technologies that are cheaper and more effective than those currently on the market and not through heavy subsidies for green industry or over the top and very heavy handed anti-carbon emission treaties like the ones that will suceed Kyoto.
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Old 04-23-2005, 07:12 AM   #15
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03/23/2005

20 Simple Steps to Undo Global Warming


Whenever you save energy -- or use it more efficiently -- you reduce the demand for gasoline, oil, coal and natural gas. Less consumption of these fossil fuels means lower emissions of carbon dioxide (C02), the major contributor to global warming. Right now the U.S. releases about 50,000 pounds of CO2 per person each year. If we can reduce energy use enough to lower these heat-trapping emissions by about 2% a year, in ten years we'll "lose" about 10,000 pounds of CO2 emissions per person.

Here are 20 simple steps that can help cut your annual heat-trapping emissions by thousands of pounds. The CO2 reduction shown for each action is an average saving.

Simple Step
Earth savings

(in carbon dioxide [CO2] reductions)
$ savings

Dishwasher tips. Run your dishwasher only with a full load. Use the energy-saving setting to dry the dishes. Don't use heat when drying.
100 pounds CO2/year $5/year

Washing machine settings. Wash clothes in warm or cold water, not hot.
up to 350 pounds CO2/year (for two loads a week) $20/year

Water heater cap. Turn down your water heater thermostat; 120 degrees is usually hot enough.
200 pounds a year (for each 20- degree adjustment) $10/year

Thermostat adjustments. Don't overheat or overcool rooms. Adjust your thermostat (lower in winter, higher in summer). about 350 pounds CO2/year (for each 2-degree adjustment) $20/year

Air conditioner check. Clean or replace air filters as recommended. Cleaning a dirty air conditioner filter can save 5% of the energy used. 350 pounds CO2/year $20/year

Best lightbulb choices. Buy energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs for your most-used lights. 500 pounds CO2/year $30/year

Water heater tweak. Wrap your water heater in an insulating jacket (but only if the water heater is over 5 years old and has no internal insulation). 250 pounds CO2/year $15/year

Shower head switch. Install low-flow shower heads to use less hot water. 350 pounds CO2/year $20/year

Weatherstripping. Caulk and weatherstrip around doors and windows to plug air leaks. 650 pounds CO2/year $35/year


Energy efficiency. Ask your utility company for a home energy audit to find out where your home is poorly insulated or energy-inefficient. 1,000 pounds CO2/year varies

Driving less. Whenever possible, walk, bike, carpool or use mass transit. 28 pounds CO2 per gallon of gas saved
at least $2.00 per gallon of gas saved

MPG criteria. When you buy a car, choose one that gets good gas mileage. 3,000 pounds CO2/year (if your new car gets 3 mpg more than your old one) $150/year

Waste reduction. Buy minimally packaged goods; choose reusable products over disposable ones; recycle. 1,200 pounds CO2/year (if you cut down your garbage by 10%) --
Clothes washing tip for spring and summer. Air dry your clothes instead of using the dryer whenever possible. 700 lbs C02/year (if you air dry your clothes for 6 months) $45/year

Home insulation. Insulate your walls and ceilings; this can save about 25% of home heating bills. 2,000 pounds CO2/year varies

Good windows. If you need to replace your windows, install the best energy-saving models. 1,000 pounds CO2/year $50/year
Neighborhood greening. Plant trees next to your home. 13 pounds CO2/year (for each tree) varies

New appliances. As you replace home appliances, select the most energy-efficient models. 600 pounds CO2/year (by replacing an old air conditioner with a new Energy Star air conditioner) $30/year

Reducing waste. Recycle your potentially recyclable material (paper, plastics and glass) and promote energy-efficient measures and recycling programs at your school or workplace. 2,400 pounds CO2/year (by recycling half of household generated waste)

Staying on top of the issues. Sign the petition to reduce global warming nationwide. Keep track of candidates' voting records and write or call to express concerns. Billions of pounds of CO2/year


Just thought I would pass this along.
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