This essay by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus was released at an October 2004 meeting of the Environmental Grantmakers Association, and it’s been ruffling feathers ever since. Get the backstory here.


By Peter Teague, Environment Program Director, Nathan Cummings Foundation

As I write this, the fourth in a series of violent hurricanes has just bombarded the Caribbean and Florida. In Florida, more than 30 are dead and thousands are homeless. More than 2,000 Haitians are dead. And ninety percent of the homes in Grenada are destroyed.

The Death of Environmentalism
On the essay cover is the Chinese ideogram for “crisis,” which is comprised of the characters for “danger” and “opportunity.”

As Jon Stewart deadpanned on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, “God, you’ve made your point. You’re all-powerful.”

Yet it isn’t God we need to be addressing our concerns to — it’s us.