By new contributor Brian Gordon. Brian is a Canadian Green Party candidate and is trained by Al Gore to present “An Inconvenient Truth”. If you feel like writing for us, drop us an email!
‘Greenness’ has been portrayed in negative ways by powerful and persuasive corporate interests for years – and it seems that all parties have bought into it. They are constantly on the defensive about going green, rather than rejecting the wrongheaded and irresponsible stereotypes put forward by big corporate lobbyists.
Some examples of negative green images that we constantly fight against are:
·Going green will wreck the economy
·People talking about global warming are alarmists
·Green is antihuman – it puts plants and animals over people
And so on. I’m sure you’ve run up against these and others yourself. We know that they are false, but when we try to argue in the same terms as the original, we effectively reinforce what they are saying. The other parties have actually gone so far off-track that they have accepted these ungreen images and defensively propose ideas to, for example, “minimize” the expense of going green.
This is the wrong approach, and it makes the Democrats in the U.S. and the Liberals in Canada look weak on both the environment and the economy. In Canada, for example, they propose to make Canada green while not affecting Alberta’s oil boom, and they have been subsidizing that boom – and the American automakers – for years. Most voters realize that subsidizing fossil fuel-based industries and promising to reduce our climate changing pollution are incompatible – and hypocritical.
This makes the voice of the Green Party critically important. We have an opportunity to create new ways of thinking about the ‘environmental problem,’ to give the world a new vision that will be seen as simply common sense once widely understood.
To do that, we must talk about ‘going green’ in more accurate and uplifting ways. For example:
·Going green opens up a whole new green economy, and gives Canada and the United States world leading technology to sell
·Going green is the responsible thing to do; we owe it to our children – and ourselves
·Wasting less costs less – waste not, want not is still true, no matter what big corporations and the other parties say
·Polluters should pay for their current messes, and be stopped from making more
(See here for a very helpful discussion on making Green an identity.)
That’s why I started a website called www.newgreeneconomy.com, and why I emphasize that concept every time I talk to people or give one of my Inconvenient Truth presentations. (I was trained by Al Gore to do so.) The other parties have allowed the conservatives/extremist right to steal the frame of reference, and now most people believe that the only way the economy will work is pretty much exactly as it does now, with a few minor tweaks. Above all else, we all think, we cannot do anything that would affect the MegaCorps; they are the economy. This is why we hear constantly about the ‘cost’ of greening the economy, rather than the savings that could result from doing so.
The time has come to start telling a different and more truthful story. Going green is better in many ways, and we must learn to give compelling examples of some of those ways. As one, I selected high-speed electric trains to replace all domestic air, both passenger and freight (See my train presentation on YouTube here).
If it can fit on a plane, it can be done better and cheaper by train. People need to understand how this new world would work, and intuitively feel how it would be better. I contrast images of sardine-like airplane seating with images of travelling by train, of a dining car with real tables – and a menu. I contrast a red-eye flight with an overnight on a train – in a private sleeper, with a real bed and a private bathroom. Then I talk about the $1.4B in subsidies the Canadian government gives the oil industry each year, and the $1B we’ve given the American auto companies over the years, and remind them that billion-dollar airports and highways aren’t free. I state the truth – that it’s just a matter of redirecting money that is already being spent in more responsible ways, and that we will actually save money by doing so.
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