It’s funny — on the way to work today, I was thinking about a post on policies that would help the environment but are not traditionally thought of as "environmental." Then John pops up this morning with something very similar. So I guess it’s in the air.

Grist relies on the support of generous readers like you. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations matched!

One of the common accusations against the environmental movement in the whole death debate was that enviros conceive of "the environment" too narrowly, and thus conceive of their political mandate too narrowly. They focus on technocratic policies about PPB of contaminants in water or new-source regulations on coal plants, instead of trying to build a broad progressive movement.

So. What are some policies that most people would not label "environmental," but which would benefit the environment? Off the top of my head I’d cite:

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

  • female empowerment, specifically female sex education, distribution of contraception, and political reform in repressively patriarchal countries;
  • universal, publicly funded health care, which would strengthen progressive movements and increase the flexibility of both workers and industry to think entrepreneurially and take new risks; and
  • debt forgiveness, of the kind perpetually hyped by the likes of Bono, which would help developing countries step off the treadmill of dirty development.

How about y’all? I’m curious to hear your ideas. Let ’em rip.