Archive for December 7th, 2009|Daily archive page

National Green Free Month

Great opinion piece by CCAN Executive Director Mike Tidwell. (Hat Tip-To Matthew Yglesias) There’s lots of great points:

December should be national Green-Free Month. Instead of continuing our faddish and counterproductive emphasis on small, voluntary actions, we should follow the example of Americans during past moral crises and work toward large-scale change.

in the 1960s, civil rights activists didn’t ask bigoted Southern governors and sheriffs to consider “10 Ways to Go Integrated” at their convenience.

So what’s the problem? There’s lots of blame to go around, but the distraction of the “go green” movement has played a significant role. Taking their cues from the popular media and cautious politicians, many Americans have come to believe that they are personally to blame for global warming and that they must fix it, one by one, at home

and the best line of the whole thing:

Don’t spend an hour changing your light bulbs. Don’t take a day to caulk your windows. Instead, pick up a phone, open a laptop, or travel to a U.S. Senate office near you and turn the tables: “What are the 10 green statutes you’re working on to save the planet, Senator?

Of course the final line of thought is the motivating principle behind Carrots and Sticks. Tidwell is absolutely right, in fact he could have been more strident. Political advocacy, much more then anything else, is what is needed right now, but the whole world is lining up to Greenwash everything from toothpaste to luxury items.

It’s pretty easy to see why people prefer the consumer based and more passive action. Most citizen activists I’ve talked to about Congressional meetings have reported an emotionally negative experience. Most offices are evasive, non-responsive and will think of every reason you could imagine that they aren’t the really the decision makers on this issue. One of our activists told me after a hill meeting that they thought the Congressional staffer that meet with us would have a successful career because they were able to “talk for the entire meeting but not say anything”. That staffer was promoted less then six months later.

All the incentives are lined up against high impact activism, but it’s what we need. We need not only more direct advocacy, but more leaders like Mike Tidwell reminding us to focus on what’s important.