Tuesday, January 19, 2010

We Are All Environmentalists Now

I wrote this piece in April of 2009, but it's still timely.

It’s about time. Yes, it’s about time the mainstream of America joined this party. For decades now, self-identified environmentalists have constituted about 20 percent of the population. Whether it’s due to reticence to label ourselves, or being turned off by the more extreme type of environmentalism, for some reason most Americans have not described themselves as environmentalists.

So what’s changed? Well, awareness is changing — which leads to behavior change. So even if people don’t want to label themselves as environmentalists, most of us are now acting like environmentalists. There’s a new paradigm in town and this paradigm is serious. (OK, sometimes a bit too serious.) I’m talking about concerns about climate change, of course. For most Americans, the debate over the need to take action on climate change is over. Our very own Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in 2006: “We know the science. The debate is over.” And it’s heartening to see that even those who don’t agree with particular plans, like those presented by Schwarzenegger or President Obama’s cap-and-trade proposal, aren’t offering criticism on the grounds that we shouldn’t be doing anything. Rather, they’re criticizing these plans on the grounds that they’re the wrong remedy or will cost too much, etc. This shift in approach is in itself a sea change.

Read the rest at Noozhawk.

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