Sunday, November 7, 2010

Adam Werbach on localism

The empty word "sustainability" sets off my skepticism, and a response written by Adam Werbach to the UK television special "What the Green Movement Got Wrong" did not prepare me for some hard-hitting criticism on the localist movement. See, Werbach was introduced as "chief sustainability officer" for an advertising company and started off the article about being chewed out by a Greenpeace representative for harming the cause.

But at towards the end, Werbach let out this gem:

Perhaps nothing is more damaging than a legacy view among some greens that humans are locusts on a perfect earth, eating more than their fair share, and doomed to destroy our species while bringing down lions, tigers, and bears in the process. There is a profoundly conservative streak in modern environmentalism. You hear it in ideas of localism, which are beautiful concepts that can hide a bitter streak of NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard) and xenophobia. It's wonderful that you want to get everything within fifty miles of your home, but if everyone in the developed world went local, global trade would grind to a halt, slowing the forces pulling billions of people out of abject poverty.

It's not a slam-dunk dismantling of all the localist claims, but it's a great start.

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