Saturday, July 31, 2010

Environmentalists and environmentalists

In a way, modern environmentalism, which is pragmatic, businesslike, collaborative, and climate-focused, has been hamstrung by historical environmentalism, which was often shrill, exclusionary, irrational, and microfocused. Being mischaracterized as a tree-hugger is something that makes my job, and the jobs of others in my field, much more challenging than it would be otherwise. In 1997 I attended the first American intensive training in the "Natural Step" in Santa Fe. The Natural Step is a Swedish approach to sustainability. The meeting was filled with hard-core businesspeople, scientists, and some equally hard-core "environmentalists." At the end, one woman stood up and said, "I cry for the earth every day," and broke down in tears. It was horrifying to me. Get this woman out of this room and out of the environmental movement, I thought.
— Auden Schendler, executive director of sustainability at Aspen Skiing Company. From Getting Green Done (New York: Public Affairs, 2009), p. 114

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