A point I try frequently to make: If you want real, substantial, lasting environmental change, it is not enough simply to recycle or drive less or shop at Whole Foods or buy organic cotton t-shirts. It is not enough to advocate that others do so. The kind of environmental change we need will never happen solely through personal virtue. There just aren’t enough virtuous people.

What’s needed are structural changes — changes in gov’t policy and regulation at every level, changes in the way we build and run our communities, changes in the practices of large corporations, changes in international norms and treaties. Political advocacy, in the broadest sense, is the obligation of any true environmentalist.

Now, why do I pound on this point, even at risk of being a big downer for all the chipper eco-strivers who so love Umbra?

Look no further than this headline: "Environment High in Personal Values, Low in Political Priorities for U.S. Voters"

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Grrr …