"G" is for Green
by Robert T. Nanninga
uring the past election cycle, I was polled by some group out of Sacramento. Answering the electronic survey was easy enough until it got to the part about political affiliation. The last question, delivered by the canned voice, asked if I was registered Republican, Democrat, or Independent. As if those were the only possible options. At that moment, I realized all this talk about independent voters was nothing more than linguistic tyranny on the part of the establishment. Unwilling to acknowledge other parties, those voters were lumped together like the Professor and Mary-Ann in the Gilligan's Island theme song. "And the rest." Ouch.
By labeling members of the Green Party and other "third" party constituencies as independents, the media is treating these Americans and the viable political alternatives they represent as something to be overlooked. By defining these voters as independents, the prime-time mediacracy we call government shows it's bias towards the status quo and the republicrats they represent. And yes, there will always be true independents.
Besides the Greens, there are now at least five other parties vying for political position. Reform, Libertarian, Republican, Democrat, and Jesse Ventura are mixing it up. If only the media would recognize that the two party system is dead, and the third party threat is multiplying.
By not calling a Green a Green, you might as well be calling him or her a libertarian, which couldn't be further from the truth. In regards to environmental policy, libertarians can make even republicans look like tree-hugging liberals. Espousing an "every man for himself" ideology, most of the libertarians I have spoken to see environmental regulation as unconstitutional and a threat to property rights. Which is only true in their world.
The foundation of the Green philosophy is based on ten key values, the first being ecological wisdom and the understanding that human societies are part of nature, not independent of it. With this understanding comes the responsibility to recognize resource limits of the planet, while applying our technological knowledge to the challenge of establishing an energy-efficient economy. The Green party also recognizes the rights of nonhuman species and self-regulating natural systems, along with those of humans. In other words, the Green Party believes that flora and fauna should be afforded property rights as well.
Unlike the two "major" parties, environmental justice is important to members of the Green party. Green ideology believes that humans, and the corporations that run them, have no "right" to poison their neighbors. I'm sure when nonwhites were given the right to vote they did not give up their right to clean air and water. None of us have.
Ecologically sound principles guarantee protection for all life on Earth. Embracing the biocentric ethics of Aldo Leopold, Greens view humans as just one member of the biotic community, albeit one with a unique responsibility. With our highly prized cognition comes the responsibility of developing sustainable ways to live in balance with what biodiversity remains. Conservation is still possible.
I realize Kermit the Frog lamented that it was not easy being green, to which I would remind everyone he said that with a man's hand shoved up his butt. Being Green is not only easy, it is the natural way to be. Contrary to the current duopoly running America, and the multinationals that really run things, Green Politics offer a vision of a society that enjoys both ecological sanity and economic vitality.
While I am on the subject of environmental sanity, I am proud to announce San Diego Greens are building momentum in the county. Here in coastal North County, the Lagoon Greens meet informally every Thursday morning at Leucadia's Papa Gus, between 8:30 and 10am, sometimes longer depending on how good the dialogue is.
The days of want and waste, greed and growth are over here in the land of sprawl and crawl. The environmental community will no longer be ignored. Green is now the color of change. Biocentric politics is an idea whose time has come. Earth First! and pass the sun screen.
|Robert T. Nanninga is an environmental writer/producer who lives in Leucadia. You can reach Robert by sending email to observationshome.com or by writing to the San Diego Earth Times.|