How to “Right” the Environmental Movement

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Courtesy of Sustainable Business Consulting (SBC)

It seems unconscionable to me that it was almost 18 years ago that then presidential candidate George H. W. Bush declared “I want to be your environmental president.” What has changed over the last two decades? How did we get to where we are today? Where government has rolled back many landmark environmental laws, and businesses view environmentalists only as legal obstructionists?

I know the popular leftist view is that it’s the fault of the media, politicians, and greedy developers, but I take a different tact. The environmental movement has lost its compass. A radical part of the movement has hijacked environmentalism from the grass roots, all inclusive movement of twenty years ago to a situation where it is now often associated with eco-terrorism, global protests, and obstructionist legal battles.

This is off-track, and I believe that the best way to change course, is to begin to distance itself from the radical part of the movement and to proactively involve and partner with businesses. Why do I believe that business is the best answer? Consider the following; According to Forbes, 12 of the 50 largest economies in the world are businesses. One shocking example is that as of 2005, the combined GDPs for Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, UAE, & Bahrain was $19 billion less than BP. Moreover, as Hunter Levins points out “the business community may be the only institution that has the resources, skills, and motivation to solve these tough (environmental) problems.”

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