Rod Dreher at Cruncy Con links to a fascinating piece from the New Republic. Read it here.
In it, Nordhaus & Shellenberger (two environmentalists) explore why environmentalism seems to have real difficulty gaining popular traction. Their conclusion is that environmentalism is essentially a movement in and of cultural elites (like many other important movements like, for example, civil rights):
The problem is not that most greens are elites, per se, but rather that too few of them acknowledge the material basis for their ecological concern and that too many reject the modern project of expanding prosperity altogether.
…[T]he truth is that, while we often talk of our desire for greater community and interconnectedness, we choose ever more privacy, autonomy, and personal freedom. Few of even the most ardent greens could seriously imagine subsuming their individual identities to a pre-agrarian tribe, or abandoning their office jobs for a life of hard agricultural labor. The retreat from older forms of community, and the move toward greater individuation, is universal and largely positive. Colin Beavan and Michael Pollan lament, respectively, the loss of community and the loss of connection between humans and the land. But both choose to live alone with their families in cities, not on agricultural communes, and both express themselves as unique thinkers and writers.