Picked up the latest issue of Mother Earth News today, and really enjoyed this essay by Earth Day co-founder Denis Hayes. Hayes singles out the history of bipartisan cooperation surrounding Earth Day, and, up until recently, the bipartisanship that characterized environmental legislation. As that spirit has all but disappeared, though (Hayes quotes from some of our most notorious anti-environmental politicians, with “The Hammer” at the top of the list), Hayes calls for a rekindling of the common purpose seen in the early days of the environmental movement between liberals and conservatives.
I found this piece inspiring, but (as you might guess), I do think a strictly political focus is limited. I agree with Hayes’ assertion that “[t]hose of us who care about the environment will either do politics, or we will have politics done to us,” but we can’t forget that some of the most exciting developments happening are occurring in the private sector. We need to demand that government play the role of protector of the commons, but also remember that the business world is often better equipped to address some of these issues with speed and creativity.
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