Chapter13


1. Green Politics: Save the Earth for the next generation...


2. What is Green

Green politics is considered to be an alternative to left and right views and parties. The term left-wing refers to the segment of the political spectrum associated with socialism, social democracy and liberalism. The term right-wing refers to the segment of the political spectrum associated with conservatism or with opposition to left wing politics.

Green Politics is most often always in conflict with left and right wing politics.


3. The Main Instigators

The emergence of green politics was in part largely due to an explosive book published in 1962 by Rachel Carson. The book entitled "Silent Spring" brought to the forefront the effect of the chemicals that were being created and used within the environment as well as highlighting the impact these chemicals would have on the environment in the future. The book also brought forth the ideas that we should rethink our ideas about the relationship between humankind and its environment. There is a natural balance that needs to be maintained and chemicals upset the balance. She also introduced the concept of "Wholism" which stated that there is connectedness of all organisms in an ecological system.

Another prominent author, Paul Ehlich, highlighted the problems of an ever increasing population which would put enormous strain on the environment in the future. Together with Rachel Carson, the first stirrings of Green Politics occurred.


4. Evolution and History of Green Politics

A green Ideology or environmental movement did not exist before the late 1960's. Modern environmentalism differed from earlier preservationist and conservationist movement's. Early Green Politics was driven by the idea of a global ecological crisis. The atomic bomb had finally brought home the message that the Earth was fragile and coupled with a number of eco-disasters (massive oil spillages), the need to conserve the earth became of utmost importance. Fierce public debates about the consequences of population growth, technology and resource depletion encouraged people to think increasingly in global terms about the environment


5. And so it began...

In March 1972 the world's very first green party (the United Tasmania Group) was formed at a public meeting in Hobart, Australia. At about that same time in Canada, 'the Small party' was formed with similar goals. In May 1972 a meeting at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, saw the launch of the Values Party, the world's first national green party.

The Values Party contested the 1972 general election, putting forward radical new policies such as Zero Economic Growth, Zero Population Growth and abortion, drug and homosexual law reform. These were published in the world's first Green election manifesto, 'Blueprint for New Zealand - An Alternative Future'. Over the next three years Green policies were debated, developed and expanded to form the basis of 'Beyond Tomorrow', the 1975 Values Party manifesto. This was a comprehensive statement of Green politics which was widely distributed overseas and contributed to the development of Green parties elsewhere.

The term 'Green' was first coined by the German Greens when they contested their first national level election in 1980. The values of these early movements were gradually codified into those of today's worldwide Green Parties.


6. Green Party Politics (Value and Ethics)

Green Politics seeks to address such issues as the definition and influence of law, green tax shift (more taxes on consumption of natural resources), consensus decision making and world peace. These can however can only come about with the participation of the greater population.

The Ethics of Green politics are based on the teachings of Mohandes Gandi or Mahatma Ghandi as he was more widely known as. The ethics of Green politics also follows the teachings of Spinoza who believed that nature and God were in fact the same being and that disrespecting nature was ultimately the same as disrespecting God. Francis Crick, the discoverer of the DNA structure, is an advocate of the idea of "consciousness" which states that everything is connected and that there is a natural balance that exists.

Green Politics also encourages the individual to have a moral responsibility towards the environment and to make environmentally friendly choices.


7. The four pillars of Green Politics...

While the generic term "green party" can be used by anyone, there are a number of loosely-affiliated but nonetheless formally organized political parties and political movements which are based on the Four Pillars of the Green.

The four Pillars of Green Politics are:

Ecology

Social Justice

Grassroots democracy

Non-violence

The Four Pillars of Green Politics were originally defined by European green parties. These pillars were adopted by American and Canadian Green Parties and expanded on to form the Ten Key Values of the Green Party.

Ten values of Green Parties

Community based economics - co-housing, LETS

Decentralisation - Bioregional democracy, sustainable agriculture

Ecological Wisdom - ending human cause extinction and promote environmental health.

Feminism - promote woman rights and thus focus on environment.

Grassroots democracy - via electoral reform (change the way that public desires are reflected in elections), to improve deliberative democracy (system of political decisions based on some trade-off consensus decision making and representative democracy).

Non-violence

Respect for diversity

Social justice - e.g. harm reduction (a set of policy beliefs, essentially stating that people always have and always will perform activities and therefore the best method should be adopted for prevention) rather than zero tolerance

Sustainability - sustainability for future generations

Personal and global responsibility of every individual towards the environment


8. Green Politics today? Some of the issues...

Green politics today seek to influence the definition and enforcement of law. This is not to say that they see non-violence as the key to law enforcement but that other methods such de-escalation and harms reduction approaches to enforcement. The "Green Tax Shift" is an idea which increases taxes on human consumption of natural resources while at the same time lowering taxes on labour and services. This of means that resources won't be suandered unnecesarily.

Other issues include a stop to pollution by governments (Nuclear Waste) and consensus decision making, participatory democracy and deliberative democracy wherever feasible. The end to the war on terrorism is also one of the issues that Green Politics address.

NB. There are many other issues which Green Politics tries to address.


9. Green Politics in the future...?

800 delegates from green parties of 70 countries decided on gathering of Global Greens and the following was decided:

Ecological Wisdom - Ecological health or ecological integrity or ecological damage is used to refer to symptoms of ecosystems pending loss of carrying capacity, ability to perform natures services or pending ecocide due to cumulative causes such as pollution. Ecosystems can be said to e "alive".

Social justice - This is a concept based on the idea that a contract exists between the government and the rest of the population. Governments are instituted among populations for the benefit of members of these populations. Those governments which fail to see the welfare of their citizens are failing to to uphold their part of the contract and are therefore unjust.

Participatory democracy - Represents an inclusive term for many kinds of consultive decision making in a democracy which tries to gain consensus amongst the whole population.

Non-violence - A diversity of techniques for waging social conflict without the use of violence and not to be thought of as a synonym for pacifism.

Sustainability - The use of resources such that future generations may also benefit.

Respect for diversity - No central perspective is the "right one" from which to assess behavior, lifestyles or lifeways.


10. Conclusion

Green Politics seeks to address the sustainability of the planet while at the same time trying to protect resources from those who would abuse the privilege. However there is a contending argument from the socialists and Liberalists. We as environmentalists have become selfish in the fact that we want to conserve our planet but seem to leave out the human population.

We as environmentalists must come to understand that most of the human population cannot live in the world that the ecologists envision. We therefore need to compromise and although Green Politics aims to encourage Diversity of Life, we as environmentalists often not receptive to the ideas of the socialists.