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An interview with New York Times columnist and “geo-green” advocate Thomas Friedman

Thomas Friedman.Photo: Greg MartinAs the green movement fends off accusations of impotence, Thomas Friedman has hatched an idea that could make a man out of environmentalism. In January, the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times debuted his "geo-green" strategy, a powerful proposal for reframing America's quest for energy independence to appeal to hawkish neocons and lily-livered tree-huggers alike. By aggressively curbing America's energy consumption, Friedman argues, the Bush administration could reduce the global price of oil to the point where it would force regimes in the Middle East to diversify their economies, thereby priming them for democratic …

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Civil-rights, suffrage activists didn’t give up, and neither should environmentalists 

This piece is adapted from a speech given before the Alliance for Global Sustainability last month at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. The full speech -- "Reflections on Sustainability and Universities and Whether Environmentalism Has Died" -- can be found here. Are the reapers quitting too soon? The environmental community is in turmoil over "The Death of Environmentalism," the challenging essay released by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus last fall. Their thesis is that the environmental community has "strikingly little to show" for its efforts over the last 15 years and that environmental leaders are not articulating …

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Enviros recruit Lakoff for reframing project, but concerns mount that he might abandon them

George Lakoff may be the new darling of the Democratic Party, but how sweet is he on the environmental movement? George Lakoff. Photo: Bonnie Azab Powell, U.C. Berkeley. A onetime adviser to Howard Dean, who hails him as "one of the most influential political thinkers of the progressive movement," Lakoff is author of the election-year best-seller Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, which solidified his rep as a top-tier Democratic strategist. A professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, he is widely seen as the meta-thinker who can rearticulate liberals' core values …

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Ban of the Cave Bug

High court to decide whether to hear challenge to Endangered Species Act The fate of the Endangered Species Act may rest in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court, if they decide in coming weeks to hear a case from a Texas man hoping to remove development restrictions on his land. Revoking the ESA protection of the tiny cave bugs inhabiting Fred Purcell's property would, of course, also affect protection for some 600 other species. Financed by the American Land Foundation, which uses landowner donations to fight development restrictions, Purcell's lawsuit began in 1999 and argues that the government should …

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Oil Together Now

Bipartisan coalition presses Bush to get behind oil-use reduction Lambasting U.S. oil addiction: It's not just for America-hating radical homosexual vegetarian Schiavo-killing eco-terrorists anymore! A growing bipartisan coalition is arguing that U.S. dependence on foreign oil is a serious national security threat. Today, a letter signed by 26 former national-security officials from both Republican and Democratic administrations is winging its way to the White House, bearing a plea for President Bush to kick off "a major new initiative to curtail U.S. consumption." "I don't often find myself in agreement with those at the Natural Resources Defense Council, but ... I …

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Four environmental funders join the debate over the movement’s future

When Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus delivered the talk that has everyone talking, they chose an influential audience: environmental grantmakers. Although the now (in)famous pair focused on mainstream advocacy organizations in their discussion of the death of environmentalism, others have contended that new thinking by the folks who write the checks is key to revitalizing the movement. We've invited four representatives from foundations around the U.S. to discuss the issue. Most recent post of the day. From: Hooper BrooksTo: Stuart Clarke, Enrique Salmón, Rhea SuhSubject: Not dead, just differentMonday, March 28, 2005, 9:30 a.m. PST The "Death of Environmentalism" has …

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Conquered in Concord

New Hampshire Senate approves stricter mercury rules than feds At risk of getting stuck with a number of toxic mercury hotspots under the Bush administration's new mercury cap-and-trade rule, New Hampshire's Senate approved a bill yesterday to adopt rules more stringent than the feds' and to ban the state's two coal-fired power plants from trading pollution allowances with cleaner facilities. If the bill, which now goes to the state House, becomes law, power plants in the state would be required to cut mercury emissions to 50 pounds annually by 2009 and 24 pounds by 2013, down from current annual emissions …

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An open letter to Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska

Dear Sen. Stevens, This week you got your wish: a 51 to 49 vote against the Cantwell amendment and in favor of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Caribou in the Arctic Refuge. Photo: Ken Whitten, Wilderness Society. The crude minds have spoken. Finally. You told your colleagues and anyone else who would listen that you have been clinically depressed for 24 years -- the same 24 years it has taken you to convince the Senate to vote in support of opening up the coastal plain for oil and gas exploration. ANWR dreams. Finally. No doubt, you are celebrating …

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Californication

Washington state House OKs bill adopting California auto-emissions rule The Washington state House this week passed a bill calling for adoption of California's strict auto-emissions rules. If the Senate follows suit and the governor signs off, Washington would follow in the footsteps of six other states that have opted to follow California rules instead of the looser national ones. The debate over the bill was long and, er, colorful. The pro-standards crowd, largely representing urban areas, had the typical arguments: State residents would save on gas and health-care costs and, oh yeah, be stricken less often with cancer, pneumonia, and …

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Environmental funders share blame for movement’s weak pulse

In responding to "The Death of Environmentalism," activist Ken Ward writes, "If the future toward which we rush is folly, the solution proposed by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus is foolishness." In this excerpt from his full rebuttal to the essay, Ward describes the role environmental foundations play in frustrating effective campaigning, and suggests that if they intelligently directed their funding toward a coordinated climate-change campaign, they could catapult the issue to the top of the national agenda. "The necessary decisions could be made in a weekend conference with less than 100 people attending," he writes. Foundations should be smarter …