Well, I’m glad that I was able to start a spirited (and occasionally even polite) discussion with my previous posts on enviroliberalism (here and here).

However, despite my repeated denials, some posters seemed to think that I was blaming environmentalism for a variety of ills or hostile to the environmental movement. Nothing could be further from the truth. I just don’t think that it is particularly useful or interesting for us to sit here “talking” about how wonderful we all are and how misguided/foolish/evil everyone else is. Nor do I think it is useful to pursue a general strategy of enviroliberalism, as I think it limits both our alliances and our policy visions. I’ve admired Grist for its willingness to think outside these traditional frameworks, which is why I was interested in writing here.On most environmental issues, my goals are absolutely identical to our movement’s mainstream — it’s just I think that the mainstream policy ideas are, in some cases, misguided. So I am trying to, in the apt words of one of my respondents “stir things up.”

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But in order to dispel any remaining confusion, just off the top of my head (no peeking at the textbook), here are a few of the many things I think the environmental movement has done right over the years:

  • The creation and expansion of the national park system;
  • raising awareness of the global warming problem;
  • fighting environmentally destructive and economically wasteful giveaways to timber companies in our national forests;
  • working to prevent global overfishing;
  • working to lower the environmental levels of a variety of toxins;
  • fighting snowmobiling in our national parks;
  • taking the lead in pushing the development of alternative, non-polluting energy sources;
  • pushing a largely successful international ban on whaling;
  • fighting a global over-reliance on big dams, particularly in the developing world;
  • leading attempts to make sure our natural resources are valued in economic decision-making;
  • developing and growing the land trust movement;
  • raising awareness of the plight of any number of endangered species;
  • working to save the last remaining rainforests;
  • fighting many ill-conceived projects of the Army corps of engineers; and
  • encouraging conservation as a key part of America’s energy strategy.

I’m sure many of you can come up with better and more complete lists, and someone will no doubt find a way to criticize some aspect of the above list as “anti-environmental” in a way I can’t possibly foresee. But, in general, I hope this makes my point, and viewpoint, clear.

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OK, so now I’ve patted the environmental movement on the back a bit. Are we all feeling better? Good, because there are a lot of problems that I’d still like to discuss, and I’ll begin in my next post …