Update [2005-3-14 9:31:34 by Dave Roberts]: The Elevator Pitch contest is over! (You can continue suggesting ideas, but they won’t be entered in the contest.)

The American Prospect is running a contest: develop an “elevator pitch” for liberalism. An elevator pitch — familiar to folks desperate to raise money (hi) — refers to a short, pithy summary of the benefits of one’s project. Conservatives, the Prospectors say, have a familiar elevator pitch (strong defense, lower taxes, fewer gay people, etc.), but people are constantly baffled as to what liberalism “stands for.” (You can read a few Prospect readers’ attempts here.)

“Hm,” I thought. “What does environmentalism stand for? Aside from this or that piece of legislation, what is environmentalism’s elevator pitch?”

So, with apologies/thanks to the Prospect, I’m ripping off their idea and starting a contest of my own.

Submit an elevator pitch for environmentalism in comments. It must be no more than 30 words. Pitches longer than that will be disqualified. Imagine yourself in an elevator with a skeptical but open-minded Average Citizen. You have seven floors to make your pitch. What does environmentalism offer them? What does it ask of them? What are its core values, its core vision?  Try to limit your comment to a pitch — if you want to discourse on the larger issue of environmentalism’s future, you can do so over on this post.

The winner — as determined by the Contest Dictator, i.e., me — will win a highly coveted, fashion-forward, limited-edition, organic-cotton, still-have-a-few-lying-around-the-office, Very First Official Grist T-shirt (VGOFT) (this is on the front; this is on the back).

I’ll announce the winner in a couple of weeks. Go to it!