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The urban archipelago

My hometown alternative weekly The Stranger has an unbelievably good article running this week -- it's the first thing I've read post-election that actually felt authentic and hopeful to me. It says that relevant red/blue divide is not a matter of states but a matter of rural vs. urban. Cities vote Democrat. It's time to celebrate that, celebrate cities and the values of diversity, vitality, and imagination that make them run, and turn our attention to making cities ever more aesthetically, practically, and politically attractive.  My eye was particularly drawn to this passage: And, as counterintuitive as it may seem …

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Wise words

If I sometimes seem obsessed with the cultural dimensions of contemporary politics, it's because I am in a continuing rage over two dumb ideas that far too many Democrats are determined to embrace, losing election after losing election: (1) economic issues, if you scream about them loudly and abrasively and "populistically" enough, will trump cultural issues, which are essentially phony, and (2) there's no way to deal with voters' cultural anxieties without abandoning Democratic principles, since cultural issues are all about banning abortion and gay marriage and so forth. Read the whole thing.  More on this stuff later.

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Whither the environmental movement? II

If the U.S. environmental movement was unwise enough to ask me my advice, I could summarize it in two words: Go local. At the moment, several things stand in the way of environmentalism coalescing as a coherent, effective national movement.First off, Republicans are in control of all three branches of the federal government and much of the national media, so national work isn't going to get anywhere for a while -- local work is as much a necessity as anything.   Second, any reasonable national environmental policy will involve a move away from fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and …

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Whither the environmental movement?

This post, and this one, and this discussion are part of a larger conversation going on among left-leaning types about how to react to the recent electoral ass-whooping we received.  Initially, a lot of the talk focused on the "moral values" voters who came out to prevent the cosmic apocalypse that is gay marriage.  Least that's what the exit polls seemed to show. However, this article, and several like it, cast substantial doubt on that theory.  In fact, there doesn't seem to be much of a rational pattern.  Bush gained among Hispanics and women, actually went down among rural voters …

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Save the Roadless Rule

Monday (Nov. 15) is the last day to comment on the Bush administration's unbelievably awful proposal to overturn the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. You can send comments directly to the feds here. Or, you can submit a comment through the Wilderness Society, who will cc your governor, here.  If you're not yet convinced that scrapping the Roadless Rule is a manifestly bad idea, the Wilderness Society has the top ten reasons. They've also got a fact sheet on roadless areas in various states. They've also got a handy chronology of the rule's history.  Come to think of it, the Wilderness …

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Rhymes with “ditty” too

The radio program "Living On Earth" had some hack from the Wall Street Journal editorial page on, along with Grist contributor Bill McKibben, to discuss what Bush's victory means for the environment.  It's interesting (and like Shalini, what I mean by interesting is "makes me reach for a noose").  You can read the transcript here.

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War and Environment Day … yesterday

Gristmill contributor Geoff Dabelko, who's having a little trouble with the posting widget, sent this to me, and I'm passing it along to you.  Enjoy: A couple years back the U.N. General Assembly declared today [ed.: yesterday], November 6, to be International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict.   In resolution 56/4 [PDF], the U.N. called attention to the often long-lasting damage done to the natural environment done in times of conflict. Having a special day for an issue is great, but what is the U.N. really doing about environmental security links on …

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You forgot Colorado!

Reader (and Colorado resident) Gary Wockner writes to remind us that not all the news is bad: About your "Array of Hope" article, you failed to ask anyone who lives in Colorado about the election results of 2004. Here is our response: Aside from the presidential election, Colorado scored a victory for the environment! For example:     We got a new U.S. Senator in Ken Salazar who replaced Ben Nighthorse Campbell and defeated Pete Coors. Ken is one the of brightest environmental stars on the Western political horizon and has worked tooth and nail for years to defend Colorado's …

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Making environmentalism palatable to social conservatives

There is much food for thought in the discussion here. Reader Keith F. Saylor, an avowed conservative and Bush voter (no, Keith, that doesn't disqualify your comments -- you are welcome here, please hang around) left this comment, which got me thinking. He says environmentalism "is crippled by its marriage with the Democratic Party and its policies."  (Da silva, who I assume is not a Bush voter, agrees here.) Further downthread, Tina Rhea, an avowed atheist (yup, you're welcome here too, Tina -- Grist is all about the big tent!) says environmentalists "could do more to reach out and make …

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Moral values

Perhaps the most galling thing about last night's catastrophe was the news that higher turnout ultimately benefited the right, and what drove the turnout, the top issue for a majority of Bush voters polled, was "moral values." In this context, "moral values" is code for "being freaked out about gay people getting married," though most in the media don't have the balls to say it.  Nearly a dozen states had initiatives banning gay marriage on the ballot, and the social conservatives turned out in force. In our current political world, "moral values" has come to mean homosexuality, abortion, and professions …

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