Stop going green to stop climate change?

Posted on December 6, 2009. Filed under: Events, Recommendations | Tags: , , |

Mike Tidwell, executive director of CCAN, had an interesting and counter-intuitive at first glance piece in the Outlook section of the Post today. In it, he advocated that small green actions like replacing lightbulbs, or buying recycled wrapping paper are only giving people a false sense of progress against climate change, but in reality doing very little to address the problem. He urged people to stop “going green” altogether and instead put their time and energy towards fighting for real policy actions to create a legally binding response to climate change. He compared climate change to civil rights–indicating that voluntary measures are not enough and that laws need to change in order to create real progress. Even though integration was not flawless once it was required by law, it happened and the country moved forward:

“After many decades of public denial and inaction, the civil rights movement helped Americans to see Southern apartheid in moral terms. From there, the movement succeeded by working toward legal change. Segregation was phased out rapidly only because it was phased out through the law. These statutes didn’t erase racial prejudice from every American heart overnight. But through them, our country made staggering progress. Just consider who occupies the White House today.”

On the eve of the Copenhagen climate talks, Tidwell also points out that strong US leadership will drive the rest of the world to address this issue as well, and hints at his disappointment with President Obama’s current, “leadership from behind” on this issue.

Tidwell will be chatting on the Washington Post’s site about his piece tomorrow at 11AM, and its likely his opinions are bound to elicit various reactions from readers.

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3 Responses to “Stop going green to stop climate change?”

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I still think we should all do our part for the environment, because we live in an age of laziness, so a comment like this will give others a reason to pass the buck. The civil rights movement was a separate issue and not to be compared with this.
Yes governments need to come forward quicker but we all have a responsibility to save the environment.

[…] The UCS site can also help you contact your Senator and urge them to take action on climate…as Mike Tidwell suggested. […]

It great to see our society understand the meaning of going green!


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