Long Death of Environmentalism

What is dying is the top downvision of environmentalism that appoints an enviro king who waves his wand andfixes all.

The environment can only be fixedfrom the bottom up and through policy structures that support just that.  That is ultimate thesis of this blog.  Terraforming the Earth can only beaccomplished one shovel at a time applied wisely.

If I can make a smallcontribution to that wisdom then we are successful.

Every human being needs to beattached to a body of land for which he takes active responsibility.  The process needs to start in child hood evenand be sustainable through his whole life. A good life is one in which a man in his nineties goes out to tend tothe garden he first put to the hoe as a child beside his parent.

Environmentalism must be takenback by the people and in such a way that all stakeholders are protected beforeit emerges as something other that a feel good political movement led by fools.

The Long Death of Environmentalism

Last week Breakthrough co-founders Michael Shellenberger and TedNordhaus returned to Yale University for aretrospective on their seminal 2004 essay, "The Death ofEnvironmentalism." In their speech they argued that the critical work ofrethinking green politics was cut short by fantasies about green jobs and"An Inconvenient Truth." The latter backfired -- more Americansstarted to believe news of global warming was being exaggerated after the moviecame out -- the former made false promises that could not be realized by capand trade. What is an earnest green who cares about global warming to do now?In this speech, Nordhaus and Shellenberger reflect on what went so badly awry,and offer 12 Theses for a post-environmental approach to climate change.

Posted by Sara Mansur on February 25, 2011 at 3:05 PM

by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger

It is a great pleasure to be here at the Yale Schoolof Forestry and Environmental Studies for this retrospective on "The Deathof Environmentalism." In early 2005 Yale invited us to debate that essay,and since then the School has continued to demonstrate a genuine interest inwhat our friend and colleague Peter Teague has taken to calling ecologicalinnovation. You train your students to ask hard questions -- we saw this firsthand in 2010 Breakthrough Fellow and Yale School Masters candidate DavidMitchell -- and your flagship publication, Yale360, is publishing some of themost interesting green thinkers today. We are grateful once again for thisopportunity to reflect on the nearly seven years since we wrote our essay, andmake some new arguments about what the green movement must do now.

Seven years ago the two of us started interviewing America'senvironmental leaders with the intention of writing a report on the politics ofglobal warming for the October 2004 meeting of the Environmental GrantmakersAssociation. We came away from the experience deeply disappointed. Not one ofthe environmental leaders we interviewed articulated a compelling vision orstrategy for dealing with the challenge. None expressed much interest inrethinking their assumptions about the problem or the solutions. What we heardagain and again during our interviews were the same old riffs that greenleaders had been repeating since the late 1980's. Global warming would besolved through the same kinds of policies that we had used to address pastpollution problems such as acid rain. Most were confident that John Kerry was,with their help, about to be elected president, and the biggest funders in themovement told us they were just a few steps away from passing cap and tradelegislation.

That October we delivered our paper, "The Death ofEnvironmentalism," at the Environmental Grantmakers Associationconference. While leaders at environmental philanthropies and national greengroups hoped that the debate the essay started would just go away, "TheDeath of Environmentalism" struck a cord with many others and sparked aspirited debate. Many took the paper's arguments personally and, withoutquestion, the most common reaction to our essay was "I'm not dead."Our friend Adam Werbach gave a speech called "Is EnvironmentalismDead," wherein he suggested that environmentalists make common cause witha broader coalition of progressive interests in hopes of building a broader andmore diverse movement. And Yale's own Gus Speth questioned whether capitalismitself was compatible with ecological sustainability and suggested a radicalshift in values was required to deal with the problem.

A Turning Point?

And yet, in the years that followed, the fortunes of Americanenvironmentalism would seemingly turn. In 2005, almost exactly one year afterthe publication of The Death of Environmentalism, Al Gore came to Aspen to keynote a Yaleretreat about the future of the environmental movement. Gore opened his speechasserting that environmentalism was not dead. The problem was that Republicanswere waging an assault on reason, ignoring science and misleading the public onbehalf of their fossil fueled corporate benefactors. There was nothing wrongwith environmentalism, Gore argued, that couldn't be rectified by clearlyexplaining to the American public the science of global warming and just howserious and dire the consequences would almost certainly be if we didn't act.

Gore hit the road with his PowerPoint and nine months later "AnInconvenient Truth" became a global media sensation. Seemingly everymagazine in the country, includingSports Illustrated, released a special greenissue. Fortune 500 companies pledged to go carbon neutral. Parisdimmed the lights on the Eiffel Tower. Solar investmentsbecame hot, even for oil companies.

In addition to winning him an Oscar and a Nobel Prize, Gore's moviearguably single handedly revitalized the climate movement. Youth climateactivism, which had been virtually non-existent prior to 2006, exploded oncollege campuses. In the fall of 2007, 12,000 young activists convened at aconference in Washingtonto demand climate action. International negotiators went to Bali at the end ofthat year with renewed determination to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Accord. In thespring of 2008, Congress restarted the dormant effort to pass a domestic capand trade program and major candidates of both parties promised to reducecarbon emissions 80% by 2050. If, as Gore famously suggested, all we lacked toaddress the climate crisis was political will, then you could almost convinceyourself that the heavy lifting to get the world on track to climatestabilization was mostly done.

At about the same time that Gore was giving his speech in Aspen, a San Francisco civil rights attorney named Van Jones was inthe process of turning his criminal justice non-profit organization into anew-wave environmental justice outfit. Not long after Gore accepted his NobelPrize, Jones' book, The Green Collar Economy, became a sensation amongliberals. The subtitle of Jones's book was "How One Solution Can Fix OurTwo Biggest Problems," by which he meant poverty and climate change. Jonesand his allies claimed, and much of the liberal establishment came to believe,that jobs retrofitting old buildings and installing solar panels wouldrevitalize the inner-city, save the economy, dramatically cut emissions, andpay for themselves.

By the onset of the 2008 election campaign, clean energy and green jobswas about the closest Democrats came to articulating a coherent strategy to fixthe American economy. And in this sense, the 2008 election was proof of conceptfor an idea that the two of us had long advocated. Indeed, while The Deathof Environmentalism was borne of frustration with conventionalenvironmentalism, it was also a call for a New Apollo Project, which we hadhelped found in 2002 in hopes of creating a different model for ecologicalpolitics, one focused not directly on climate but rather on strategies toaddress other, more salient public concerns like jobs and national securitythrough measures that also offered substantial climate benefits.

And this is largely what Democrats did in the 2008 election, offeringAmericans a compelling vision of a clean and prosperous energy future. They haddone so not by attempting to terrify Americans into addressing climate change.Indeed, they hardly mentioned climate change at all, focusing instead on themany economic and security benefits that building a clean energy economy wouldbring.

The Crash

Yet today, environmental efforts to address climate change and build agreen economy lie in ruins. The United StatesCongress this summer once again rejected climate legislation that even had itsucceeded would have had virtually no impact upon U.S. carbon emissions over thecoming decade. The magnitude and consequence of this defeat are poorlyunderstood outside of Washington.Greens had the best opportunity in a generation -- a Democratic White House andlarge Democratic majorities in Congress. But they banked everything on a singlebill and walked away with nothing -- or rather worse than nothing, since todayenvironmental credibility with lawmakers of both parties is today at anall-time low.

Meanwhile, green stimulus investments ended up creating very few jobs.Those that it did create were low-wage and temporary custodial jobs -- not thehigh-wage manufacturing jobs that created the black middle-class after WorldWar II. And today, the clean tech sector-- the darling of high tech VC's at theheight of the green bubble-- is in a state of collapse as stimulus fundsexpire, large public deficits threaten clean energy subsidies both here andabroad, and Wall Street firms short clean tech stocks.

The picture is no less grim internationally. Australia has abandoned efforts tocap its emissions. Japan announced last month that it would, under nocircumstances, agree to further emissions reduction commitments under theauspices of the KyotoAccord. The European Union will meet its Kyoto commitments thanks to thecollapse of Eastern Bloc economies in the early 90's and the collapse of theglobal economy in 2008, not through pubic policy efforts to decarbonize itseconomy. And the collapse of diplomatic efforts to negotiate legally bindingemissions caps, first in Copenhagen and again inCancun, has set the international process back to where it started in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro.

In the wake of the crash, environmentalists pointed their finger at theusual bogeymen. They claimed that the problem has been that fossil fuelinterests have massively outspent underdog environmental groups, fundingskeptics to mislead the public and duping the media into giving too muchcredence to skeptical views about climate change.
In reality, the environmental lobby massively outspent its opponents. In justthe last two years, by our rough estimate environmental organizations andphilanthropies spent somewhere north of $1 billion dollars advocating forclimate action. In contrast, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,Exxon-Mobil, the Koch Brothers, Big Coal, and the various other well publicizedopponents of environmental action might have spent, when all was said and done,a small fraction of that. Indeed, much of the U.S.energy industry, including the largest utilities, helped write and lobbied for U.S.climate legislation.

Nonetheless, and despite the enormous resources spent on publiccommunications about climate, some continue to accuse the media of "falsebalance" - by which they mean giving equal coverage to skeptical viewsabout climate change. But the phenomenon of "false balance,"according to the best academic studies of the phenomena, disappeared after2005. And even the very notion completely undermines the idea that media coveragehas been biased against climate action. The complaint, after all, is that themedia has reported the views of skeptics or opponents of climate action at all.

The truth is that the disparate crew of academics and bloggers whomake up the skeptic community have toiled in relative obscurity and have beenlargely ignored by the mainstream media. That skeptics have nonethelesssucceeded in raising substantial doubt among many Americans about the realityof global warming suggests, at the very least, that the environmental communityhas profoundly misframed the issue.

The propensity to blame skeptics and fossil fuel companies for the serialpolitical failures of the environmental movement should be understood as atribal defense of the collective green ego, not the logical conclusion of adispassionate analysis.

What Went Wrong?

The green bubble of seemingly widespread interest in climate change andgreen jobs was, it turns out, primarily an elite phenomenon, one which hadlittle effect upon widespread public opinion about climate change. Publicsupport for action to address global warming has always been broad but not deepand remained largely unchanged throughout the entire period. Indeed, arguablythe only impact that either "An Inconvenient Truth" or the green jobsmovement had on public opinion was to increase public skepticism about climatescience and polarize public support for both climate and clean energy action.

From virtually the moment that "An Inconvenient Truth" wasreleased, public skepticism about global warming began to rise. The Pew Research Center for the People andthe Press found that from July 2006 to April 2008, belief that global warmingwas occurring declined from 79 percent to 71 percent. Gallup polls alsorevealed similar backlash to the movie, with the percentage of Americans whobelieved in global warming was exaggerated, rising from 30 percent in March of2006 to only 35 percent in March of 2008.

Gore famously claimed, "the truth about the climate crisis is aninconvenient one that means we are going to have to change the way we live ourlives." Those apparent calls for sacrifice by Gore and other green leadersdrove rising partisan polarization. John Jost, a leading political psychologistat New York University, recently demonstrated that much of the partisan divideon global warming can be explained through the psychological concept of systemjustification. It turns out that many Americans have a strong psychologicalneed to maintain a positive view of the existing social order. When Gore said"we are going to have to change the way we live our lives" he couldnot have uttered a statement better tailored to trigger system justificationamong a substantial number of Americans.

At the same time, environmentalists increasingly conflated acceptanceof climate science with acceptance of green policy prescriptions. To oppose capand trade was, implicitly among many greens and explicitly among the mostapocalyptic, to deny the reality of anthropogenic warming. But this justfurther polarized opinion on climate science rather than uniting us in theeffort to address global warming. Environmentalist appeals to scientificauthority led conservatives not to abandon their opposition to stateintervention in the energy economy but to reject climate science.

Greens reacted to these developments not by toning down their rhetoricor reconsidering their agenda in a manner that might be more palatable to theiropponents. Instead, they made ever more apocalyptic claims about global warming- claims that were increasingly inconsistent, ironically, with the scientificconsensus whose mantle greens claimed. These efforts both further increasedpolitical polarization among conservatives and undermined support for actionamong many others. UC-Berkeley political psychologist Robb Willer recentlydemonstrated through a series of experiments that catastrophic presentations ofglobal warming actually reduce belief in global warming.

But the failure of green climate advocacy in recent years goes wellbeyond a failure to properly frame the issue. Indeed, the failure of the greenagenda has been as much a function of greens concluding that they had a framingproblem as that they didn't. What many greens concluded after "The Deathof Environmentalism" was that they needed to reframe global warming as aneconomic opportunity, not an ecological crisis.
And so carbon caps and the soft energy path were repackaged as economic andjobs policy despite little evidence those policies would, on balance, createjobs. In fact, most credible economic models of proposed cap and tradepolicies, including those produced by government agencies, predicted theopposite. While green groups mostly ignored that evidence and plunged aheadwith the cap and trade effort, the jobs question was more than academic. Therewere real economic consequences to proposals to cap carbon emissions and thoseconsequences had profound political implications for the effort thatenvironmentalists were not going to spin their way out of.

Much of the industrial Midwest isstill heavily dependent upon coal-fired electricity, both for household energyuse and for what remains of our nation's struggling manufacturing sector. Otherregions, such as the Gulf Coast, are heavilydependent upon the fossil fuel industry for jobs. The result of this was that,while the national debate was polarized by Party, there was no such divide inregions such as the industrial Midwest or the Gulf Coast, where there wasbipartisan opposition to policies that would significantly raise energy pricesor cost jobs in important sectors of their regional economies.

The defining moment in the fight to pass a cap and trade proposalthrough the last Congress came virtually before it began. Few members ofCongress were willing to expressly advocate for policies that would raiseenergy prices and in April of 2009 the Senate voted virtually unanimously for aresolution that cap and trade should not result in increased energy prices.This pretty well established that any policy that passed out of Congress wouldhave little impact upon either emissions or deployment of clean energy. 

From that point on, the national cap and trade debate was nothing more thanKabuki theatre, with advocates claiming the proposed legislation wouldsignificantly reduce emissions and create millions of jobs, and opponentsclaiming it would wreck the economy. In reality, it would have done neither.Neither the version that passed the House nor the one that died in the Senatewould have had much impact on emissions or the nation's energy system fordecades.

But while the outcome of the cap and trade debate was a foregoneconclusion, the damage done to both the environmental movement and the cleanenergy investment agenda was enormous. Today, the political capital of theenvironmental movement is lower than it has been since the 1994 Republicantakeover of Congress. Perhaps more importantly, given how poorly the nationalenvironmental movement has chosen to expend its capital, is that greens havealso succeeded in both discrediting and polarizing the clean energy investmentagenda. This has occurred because the jobs they promised through green stimulusinvestments have failed to materialize, and because their efforts to reframeclimate policy as economic policy ended up discrediting what had been a broadlypopular agenda to invest in developing new energy technologies by rendering itindistinguishable from the profoundly polarizing climate debate.

Twelve Theses for a Post-Environmental Movement

Today, the need to remake ecological politics is clearly more urgentthan ever. That will require that we actually learn from our failures and letthose lessons become the underlying assumptions for a new, post-environmentalclimate movement.

First, more, better, or louder climate science will not drive thetransformation of the global energy economy. The resources necessary to make such a transformation will not beforthcoming in pursuit of climate benefits that are uncertain and far off inthe future. Many greens have imagined that as the evidence of climate changebecomes ever clearer, the case for action will become stronger. But the realityis that the more our understanding of the full complexity of the climate systemadvances, the greater the uncertainties about the impacts of climate change andthe attribution of those impacts to anthropogenic activities will become. Thisis not because the evidence for anthropogenic warming will become weaker. Itwill in fact become stronger. But our understanding of how that warming impactsthe climate system at regional and local scales will become harder tocharacterize, not easier.

Second, we need to stop trying to scare the pants off of the Americanpublic. Doing so has demonstrablybackfired. Climate skepticism is on the rise, every snow storm is the subjectof partisan rancor, and we are no closer to acting in any meaningful way toaddress climate change. Skepticism about climate science has been motivated byconcerns about the remedies that greens have proposed. The solution is not moreclimate science but rather a different set of remedies.

Third, the most successful actions will not be justified forenvironmental reasons. The onlytwo countries to significantly decarbonize their energy supplies -- France and Sweden -- did so for energy securityreasons in response to oil price shocks, not for environmental reasons. Manyconservatives who are skeptical of claims made by climate campaigners believeit's a bad idea to send half a trillion or so a year abroad for foreignimported oil, which brings with it a whole host of threats to national andenergy security. Others simply see three million current air pollution deaths ayear as a far higher priority. We should put shared solutions at the center ofour politics, not our view of the science.

Fourth, we need to stop imagining that we will solve global warmingthrough behavior changes. Thereare no doubt many good reasons for those of us with enough affluence andcontrol over the material circumstances of our lives to turn away fromaccumulative consumption. But we should not imagine this to be a climatestrategy.

What most greens mean when they suggest that we need to fundamentallychange our way of life isn't so fundamental at all. They mostly mean that weneed to stop crass consumerism, live in denser cities, and use public transit.And while there are many reasons to recommend each of these particularremedies, none will have much impact upon the trajectory of global emissions.That's because much of the world already lives in dense cities- more and moreof us every day. Relatively few of us globally today have the means to consumecrassly, or even own an automobile.

Global development and urbanization are salutary trends - for theybring with them the opportunity for billions of us to live longer, healthier,and freer lives. But these trends also suggest that the green obsession withmoralizing against profligate American lifestyles is entirely irrelevant to thefuture disposition of the global climate, or much anything else that reallymatters to the big ecological challenges that we will face in the comingcentury. More and more of the world will adopt the very living patterns thatgreens have so long valorized. And as they do they will use vastly more energyand resources, not less.

Fifth, we have to stop treating climate change as if it were atraditional pollution problem. Aswe noted in our book, climate change is as different from past pollutionproblems as nuclear warfare is from gang violence. Climate change will not besolved with end-of-pipe solutions, like smokestack scrubbers and sewagetreatment plants that worked for past pollution problems. Rather it willrequire us to rebuild the entire global energy system with technologies that wemostly don't have today in any form that could conceivably scale to meet thatchallenge.

Sixth, we will not regulate or price our way to a clean energy economy. Regulatory and pricing solutions tend tosucceed when we have good, low cost alternatives to the activities which we areattempting to discourage or eliminate. We dealt with acid rain once we hadaccess to low sulfur coal from the western United States and reached aninternational agreement to phase out CFCs only once DuPont demonstrated thatthey could produce a cheap alternative at scale.

Greens have, in recent years, substituted the almighty Market, in theform of a response to a carbon price signal, for their past faith in commandand control regulations. But the substitution problem is largely the same.Without cheap technologies, carbon prices will need to be prohibitively high todrive a quick transition to low carbon energy.

Seventh, we need to acknowledge that the so-called "soft energypath" is a dead end. Thenotion that the nation might meet its future energy needs through renewableenergy and low cost energy efficiency has defined virtually all environmentalenergy proposals since the 1960s, and was codified into dogma by anti-nuclearactivist turned efficiency consultant, Amory Lovins, in his 1976 ForeignAffairs article. Lovins claimed that efficiency would allow Americato dramatically reduce its total energy use and that renewable energytechnologies like wind and solar power were ready to replace fossil fuels.

But the reality is that for centuries, the global economy has used evermore energy, even as it has used energy ever more efficiently and renewableenergy, which Lovins and others were claiming even as early as the late 1970'swas cheaper than fossil energy, remains expensive and difficult to scale.Renewables still cost vastly more than fossil based energy, even before wecalculate the costs associated with storing and transmitting intermittent formsof energy. Wind energy, according to the latest EIA estimates, still costs 50%more than coal or gas. Solar costs three to five times as much. In the end,what the soft energy path has given us is coal-fired power plants, mountaintopremoval, global warming, and an economy that uses 50% more energy, not solarpanels and wind farms.

Eighth, we will not internalize the full costs of fossil fuels, even if we are able to agree upon whatthey actually are. Like the climate science upon which they are based, economicmodels that attempt to model the social costs of carbon emissions are endlesslydisputable. Don't like the result? Change the estimated climate sensitivity,the damage exponent, the social discount rate, or any number of otherassumptions until you arrive at one you do like. The degree that we dointernalize the cost of carbon will be determined by the tolerance within specificpolitical economies for policies that increase energy costs.

Ninth, we will need to make clean energy technologies much cheaper in order to decarbonize the global energyeconomy. Clean energy technologies, where they have been deployed at all, stillrequire vast public subsidies in order to be commercially viable. This issimply not a recipe for bringing those technologies to scale. Subsidizing moreof the same old technologies will bring down their cost incrementally, but notenough to displace fossil fuels at a rate sufficient to have much impact onemissions. There will be no significant action to address global warming, nomeaningful caps or other regulatory frameworks, and no global agreement tolimit emissions until the alternatives to fossil fuels are much better andcheaper. This will require technological innovation on a vast scale and willrequire sustained state support for radical innovation through largeinvestments in basic science, research and development, demonstration, andcommercialization of new energy technologies.

Tenth, we are going to have to get over our suspicion of technology,especially nuclear power. Thereis no credible path to reducing global carbon emissions without an enormousexpansion of nuclear power. It is the only low carbon technology we have todaywith the demonstrated capability to generate large quantities of centrallygenerated electrtic power. It is the low carbon of technology of choice formuch of the rest of the world. Even uber-green nations, like Germany and Sweden, have reversed plans tophase out nuclear power as they have begun to reconcile their energy needs withtheir climate commitments.

Eleventh, we will need to embrace again the role of the state as adirect provider of public goods.The modern environmental movement, borne of the new left rejection of socialauthority of all sorts, has embraced the notion of state regulation and evencreation of private markets while largely rejecting the generative role of thestate. In the modern environmental imagination, government promotion oftechnology - whether nuclear power, the green revolution, synfuels, or ethanol- almost always ends badly.

Never mind that virtually the entire history of Americanindustrialization and technological innovation is the story of governmentinvestments in the development and commercialization of new technologies. Thinkof a transformative technology over the last century - computers, the Internet,pharmaceutical drugs, jet turbines, cellular telephones, nuclear power - andwhat you will find is government investing in those technologies at a scalethat private firms simply cannot replicate.

Twelveth, big is beautiful.The rising economies of the developing world will continue to develop whetherwe want them to or not. The solution to the ecological crises wrought bymodernity, technology, and progress will be more modernity, technology, andprogress. The solutions to the ecological challenges faced by a planet of 6billion going on 9 billion will not be decentralized energy technologies likesolar panels, small scale organic agriculture, and a drawing of unenforceableboundaries around what remains of our ecological inheritance, be it therainforests of the Amazon or the chemical composition of the atmosphere.Rather, these solutions will be: large central station power technologies thatcan meet the energy needs of billions of people increasingly living in thedense mega-cities of the global south without emitting carbon dioxide, furtherintensification of industrial scale agriculture to meet the nutritional needsof a population that is not only growing but eating higher up the food chain,and a whole suite of new agricultural, desalinization and other technologiesfor gardening planet Earth that might allow us not only to pull back fromforests and other threatened ecosystems but also to create new ones.

The New Ecological Politics

The great ecological challenges that our generation faces demands anecological politics that is generative, not restrictive. An ecological politicscapable of addressing global warming will require us to reexamine virtuallyevery prominent strand of post-war green ideology.

From Paul Erlich's warnings of a population bomb to The Club of Rome's"Limits to Growth," contemporary ecological politics haveconsistently embraced green Malthusianism despite the fact that the Malthusianpremise has persistently failed for the better part of three centuries. Indeed,the green revolution was exponentially increasing agricultural yields at thevery moment that Erlich was predicting mass starvation and the serialpredictions of peak oil and various others resource collapses that havefollowed have continue to fail.

This does not mean that Malthusian outcomes are impossible, but neitherare they inevitable. We do have a choice in the matter, but it is not thechoice that greens have long imagined. The choice that humanity faces is notwhether to constrain our growth, development, and aspirations or die. It iswhether we will continue to innovate and accelerate technological progress inorder to thrive.

Human technology and ingenuity have repeatedly confounded Malthusianpredictions yet green ideology continues to cast a suspect eye towards the verytechnologies that have allowed us to avoid resource and ecologicalcatastrophes. But such solutions will require environmentalists to abandon the"small is beautiful" ethic that has also characterized environmentalthought since the 1960's. We, the most secure, affluent, and thoroughly modernhuman beings to have ever lived upon the planet, must abandon both the dark,zero-sum Malthusian visions and the idealized and nostalgic fantasies for asimpler, more bucolic past in which humans lived in harmony with Nature.

To an older generation of environmentalists, these observations willseem antithetical to everything environmentalism stands for. If in 2004 weargued that environmentalism needed to die, today it's clear that it did. Whatkilled it was neither our essay, nor fossil-funded skeptics, nor this or thattactical failing by green leaders or Democratic politicians. Rather,environmentalism died of old age. The world in which we live, economically,technologically, politically, and most importantly ecologically, has soprofoundly changed that the very foundations upon which contemporaryenvironmental politics was constructed no longer hold.

What comes next is still unwritten. And if we can find inspiration inanything today it should be in this. And so we leave you today with the wordsof a great American novelist of our own generation. Dave Eggers lost both hisparents to cancer at the age of twenty-one. Reflecting on the experience, andhow it had shaped his life he observed:

"On the one hand you are so completely bewildered that somethingso surreal and incomprehensible could happen. At the same time, suddenly thelimitations or hesitations that you might have imposed on yourself fall away.There's a weird, optimistic recklessness that could easily be construed asnihilism but is really the opposite. You see that there is a beginning and anend and that you have only a certain amount of time to act. And you want to getstarted."

Thank you very much.

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