Wal-Mart and Ahh-nold Playing Divide and Conquer?

Dave Roberts asks this question in the face of Wal-Mart’s recent efforts to go green and Gov. Terminator’s support of a number of sustainability/environmental initiatives in California. Dave notes that environmentalists have to do some thinking: “If environmentalists get what they want (or at least some of it), should they overlook egregious misconduct in the areas of, say, labor and healthcare? How strongly do greens stand with the progressive coalition?”

To throw my two cents in: This is exactly the issue we’ve all been discussing since the release of The Death of Environmentalism and The Soul of Environmentalism, and situations like these will give “greens” a chance to demonstrate whether we recognize our role in a larger movement. From a political perspective, this is what the Right’s done well: sticking together even when that unity means some specific issues get minimized or even marginalized. It’s time for progressives to start thinking in terms of systems, and remembering that a large motivation for protecting the environment stems from our own place in it: we’re no healthier than the ecosystems we depend upon. In other words, much of our passion stems from environmental impacts on human beings. Breathing clean air and drinking clean water are important, but so are living wages and affordable health care. We can praise these sustainability initiatives, and should. At the same time, we can’t ever let giants like Wal-Mart and Arnold think that we can be easily distracted from larger goals…. I’m likely meandering, so feel free to say something clearer…

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