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Confessions of a recovering environmentalist | openDemocracy.

Interesting article. He seems to be clinging to a somewhat dystopian view of the future because of his own shortcomings as an environmentalist. I think most environmentalists go through a stage like this. In fact, envrionmentalism has gone through a stage like this.

It’s also interesting how he frames sustainability as a “plastic” word with the goal of mitigating climate change. Since I’m on the board of the Sustainability Association of Hawaii I suppose I have an inside view on what sustainability is all about and it’s definitely not just about climate change. It’s about closing the loops, properly internalizing costs, radical efficiency, waste = food, etc…

I suppose what drew me into this movement was it’s optimism for the future. Sustainability is about solutions. It’s the 3rd wave of environmentalism as Van Jones would say:

“The first wave is sort of the Teddy Roosevelt, conservation era which had its day and then, in 1963, Rachel Carson writes a book, Silent Spring, and she’s talking about toxics and the environment, and that really kind of opens up a whole new wave. So it’s no longer just conservation but it’s conservation, plus regulation, trying to regulate the bad, and that wave kind of continued to be developed and got kind of a 2.5 upgrade because of the environmental justice community who said, “Wait a minute, you’re regulating but you’re not regulating equally, the white polluters and white environmentalists are essentially steering poison into the people-of-color communities, because they don’t have a racial justice frame.” … Now there’s something new that’s beginning to gather momentum, and it’s conservation plus regulation of the bad, plus investment in the good … beginning to put money into the solutions as well as trying to regulate the problem.”[29]

It’s a shame that the author doesn’t get his way: we can’t all take long walks in the woods and live in cabins – there’s just not enough land. I propose this is the dark side of environmentalism: people who look at society, think it doesn’t deserve saving, and grow despondent because we can’t all be farmers living off the land with our own two hands. We need to recognize, for better or worse, we are where we are and we’ll need to stop destroying nature before we truly return to it.

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SENATE COMMITTEE ON WATER, LAND, AGRICULTURE, AND HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS
SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
SENATE COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY

March 15, 2010, 3:00 P.M.
Room 229

TESTIMONY IN STRONG SUPPORT OF HB 2421 HD2

Chairs Hee, Gabbard, and Fukunaga and members of the committees:

I’m writing to voice my support of the proposed $5 surcharge on each barrel of oil entering Hawaii to be used to fund our clean energy future.

These funds could be used in a variety of ways:

1 – For energy efficiency projects with a particular focus on low-income energy efficiency upgrades and solar water heating.
2 – To incentivize clean energy investment, smart grid infrastructure improvements, and leveraging federal stimulus dollars for energy projects.

This tax shifting policy will discourage the use of fossil fuels while providing a source of revenue for clean energy planning and implementation. We can also create badly needed green jobs locally.

These sorts of policies have worked elsewhere to help loosen the grip of oil dependence. Let’s put it to good use here.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify.

Brian Bell

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The ocean absorbs most of the CO2 we emit and this article is a nice summary of how bad the situation is.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=rising-acidity-in-the-ocean

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