I'm setting up this blog in preparation for the 2006 big push. We successfully got the environment back on the Democratic Party Agenda, at least on paper (and HTML). But now we need to keep it there and keep it real!
The Dem leadership is running away from the environment as an issue because they want to regain the center and don't see the environment as a broadly emphasized issue among swing-voters. I think that's bunk! Most Americans will at least claim to be passionate about clean air and water, smart growth and protecting wild places and species. We can effectively tap into that passion, but first the Dem leadership and activists must take real ownership on these issues, then educate the voters on how and why we can and should begin turning things around regarding real sustainability.
The GOP, on the other hand, has successfully sold the idea that there is no environmental crisis. They claim it's all a conspiracy on the left fabricated to scare people into giving the government more power - all the more ironic since that's been precisley the Bush strategy since 9/11, except that they've effectively cast terrorism as the bogey-man. When on those rare occasions the Republicans do admit there is a problem with the environment, they fall back on the pseudo-science mantra of free markets, globalism and supply side economics as a panacea: just get out of the way of business entrepreneurs (read multi-national corporations) and we'll grow ourselves out of the ecological mess. This the same mess we've so effectively "grown" ourselves into.
Granted, the private sector does have a huge role to play and it's creativity will be vital in helping save the planet. But business is in the end about business, and that's ultimately about maximizing profits on the short term while enriching their shareholders and executives. Generally the environmental impacts of doing business are an afterthought if any thought is given to it at all. To paraphrase, if all men (women and corporations) were angels we wouldn't need government. They aren't and we do, need government that is. Government not as an over-grown, centralized, bureaucratic monster, but instead as a partner in effective and productive balance with business and people; providing incentives for sustainable practices when and where possible and only enforcing same when required. And government that is in cooperative balance with other nations and peoples as well, both directly and via collaborative support for international organizations, like the UN, as well as global treaties and agreements. As we know, the Bush Administration and Republican dominated congress are currently fulfilling neither of these roles nor do they care to. Just the opposite. But if the Democrats can regain congress and/or the whitehouse, the opportunity to return the poweful and influential US government to that rightful role of partner in sustainabilty can and should be realized.
A promising start on the international front would be for the Democratic party to get on board now in a convincing way with the the UN Millennium Goals initiative to end poverty and achieve sustainability world-wide by 2015. The UN's related Millennium Ecosystem Assessment outlines the challenges and offers some hopeful courses of action. If Democrats are indeed the the party of global cooperation and sustainabilty then we need to educate the American people on these initiatives and inform them on how everyone can play a part. Global terrorism, after all, pales in comparison to issues like global warming and the collapse of global ecosystems as a threat to our future.
So please join us and let's make a start. Time is indeed of the essence and with your help Democrats for the Environment can be a networking and organizing tool leveraged to help keep the Party honest and focused on it's commitment to a cleaner environment and a better future for all of us and all our children.