The Future is Green, Bright Green
Alex Steffen, Executive Editor of Worldchanging, writes on different categories he distuinguishes regarding environmentalism.
Bright green environmentalism is a belief that sustainable innovation is the best path to lasting prosperity, and that any vision of sustainability which does not offer prosperity and well-being will not succeed. In short, it's the belief that for the future to be green, it must also be bright. Bright green environmentalism is a call to use innovation, design, urban revitalization and entrepreneurial zeal to transform the systems that support our lives.
Alex contrasts bright green thinking with three other prominent schools of thought: light greens, dark greens and grays. Light green environmentalists tend to emphasize lifestyle/behavioral/consumer change as key to sustainability, or at least as the best mechanism for triggering broader changes. Light greens strongly advocate change at the individual level. The thinking is that if you can get people to take small, pleasant steps (by shopping differently, or making changes around the home), they will not only make changes that can begin to make a difference in aggregate, but also begin to clamor for larger transformations.
Dark greens, in contrast, tend to emphasize the need to pull back from consumerism (sometimes even from industrialization itself) and emphasize local solutions, short supply chains and direct connection to the land. They strongly advocate change at the community level. In its best incarnations, dark green thinking offers a lot of insight about bioregionalism, reinhabitation, and taking direct control over one's life and surroundings (for example through transition towns): it is a vision of collective action. In a less useful way, dark greens can tend to be doomers, warning of (sometimes even seeming to advocate) impending collapse.
Grays, of course, are those who deny there's a need to do anything at all, whether as individuals or as a society.
Alex argues that you can't divide people's thoughts neatly and simply into categories. Certainly one can believe simultaneously in the need for changes in systems, individuals and communities. I totally agree with him.
How would you classify your own thinking?
Via: Green Heroes Sustainable Innovation Network www.green-heroes.org