"Death of Environmentalism" Authors to Speak at Yale F&ES

The authors of a report criticizing the environmental movement for failed leadership on global warming will discuss “Post–Environmentalism: Beyond ‘I Have a Nightmare’ Politics” on Friday, May 6, at 4 p.m. in Bowers Auditorium at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, 205 Prospect St.

Authors of “The Death of Environmentalism: Global Warming Politics in a Post–Environmental World,” Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, strategists and organizers who have worked with a number of environmental groups over the past decade, contend that environmental leaders have failed to articulate a broad, values–based vision, instead offering narrow policy fixes that “provide neither the popular inspiration nor the political alliances the community needs to deal with the problem.”

Shellenberger and Nordhaus say the environmental movement has become a relic and a failure, coasting on decades–old successes and bereft of new ideas. “When you look at the long string of global warming defeats under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, it is hard not to conclude that the environmental movement’s approach to problems and policies hasn’t worked particularly well,” the authors say. “And yet there is nothing about the behavior of environmental groups and environmental leaders that indicates that we as a community are ready to think differently about our work.”

The report’s authors assert that if environmentalists hope to become more than a special interest, they will have to start framing their proposals around core American values. “We must start seeing our own values as central to what motivates and guides our politics,” the authors say. “If environmentalists don’t consider the high cost of health care, R&D tax credits and the overall competitiveness of the American auto industry to be ‘environmental issues,’ then who will think creatively about a proposal that works for industry, workers, communities and the environment?”

The discussion will also include Jon Coifman, director of media relations for the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Environment School Dean Gus Speth, who will serve as moderator.

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Media Contact

Dave DeFusco: david.defusco@yale.edu, 203-436-4842