Not an Environmentalist? You Have Lots of Company


| 6/15/2011 9:32:08 AM


Tags: activism, labels, language, environment, Keith Goetzman,

Melbourne World Environment Day 2011 protester 

I’m an environmentalist. There, I said it. Now why is it so hard for so many people to make this simple proclamation?

It’s not just clear-cutting, oil-drilling, emission-spewing right-wingers who reject the label. I’m constantly encountering well-meaning folks, even progressive and generally earth-friendly ones, who start sentences with “I’m no environmentalist, but …” or “I wouldn’t call myself an environmentalist, but ….”

Now why is this?

Being an environmentalist, to me, simply means you care about the environment: maybe a little, maybe a lot. It doesn’t mean you place it above all else. It doesn’t mean you can’t still identify yourself as a Christian, a businessperson, a farmer, a parent, a queer, a golfer, a juggler—whatever. It doesn’t mean you’re an environmental activist or extremist, and it doesn’t mean you’ve been initiated at a Starbucks window-smashing workshop and accepted into the Anarchist Order of Tree Spikers.

I’ve come to learn that saying, “I’m no environmentalist, but … ” is a lot like saying, “I’m no racist, but … .”  When you hear it, you know that what follows will inevitably be support for an environmental stance.

jim
7/9/2011 11:44:02 PM

each one of us has a unique definition of environmentalism.but each of us is participating in our planets destruction.therefore we each have a personal responsibility to minimize the harm that's taking place.i believe that small things add up and indeed make a difference.these are often called the low hanging fruit,or replacing harmful habits with harmless ones.usually they only take caring and thought and action. lots of people that say they want a better cleaner planet still leave the gas station or starbuck's with a throw away coffee cup or water bottle or leave every darn store with throw-away plastic bags day after day after day. and so to me,if all the average people can,t or won't deal the easiest and really most essential changes then this sweet old earth hasn,t got a chance until it learns to spit this fowl tasting and ungrateful species out.


E.C. Mueller
6/22/2011 4:55:32 PM

Have been an environmentalist for 40 + years and proud of it. We must now look at the reason for environmental problems. Guess what too many people.


David E Mulvihill
6/17/2011 3:09:34 PM

All environmentalism is local. Some local is just a lot bigger than others.