Environmentalism: The word is not enough. In my opening statement at the debate the other night, I had 60 seconds to reach a half-drunk, half-interested crowd. In those circumstances, you realize pretty quickly that you have to cut straight to the core of things. I hadn't really thought it out in advance, but I realized just before I went on stage that the first thing I wanted to say is simple: I'm not an environmentalist and these aren't environmental challenges.
This is a great article by Grist's David Roberts, in which he points out that the issue of climate change requires too broad a change in our society to allow it to be pigeonholed as a purely "environmental" concern. He points out that environmentalists have taken an early lead in pointing out the perils of continuing on the course we have been on, but says the mindset of the environmental movement has been shaped by the movement's early successes as a purely regulatory issue (find polluters and prevent them or make them pay for polluting).
Roberts' article revisits a discussion from 2004, spurred by an article by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Schellenberger, entitled "The Death of the Environmental Movement", in which they too argued that the environmental movement has become moribund by getting lost in the tactics that brought it early success, and that it has consequently been weak at dealing with the backlash that has been stirring in the American public for the last thirty years. They too argued that the climate crisis is too broad and too important to be stuck with the same myopia. That article caused a lot of fuss when it was published, but it's an interesting discussion, and as Roberts' article indicates, one that deserves revisiting.