Current tactics can’t solve today’s complex global crises. The bad boys of environmentalism” call for a bold and empowering new vision
Environmental insiders Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus triggered a firestorm of controversy with their self-published essay The Death of Environmentalism,” which argued that environmentalism cannot deal with global warming and should die so that a new politics can be born. Global warming is far more complex than past pollution problems, and American values have changed dramatically since the movement’s greatest victories in the 1960s, but environmentalists keep fighting the same old battles. Seeing a connection between the failures of environmentalism and the failures of the entire left-leaning political agenda, the authors point the way toward an aspirational politics that will resonate with modern American values and be capable of tackling our most pressing challenges.
In this eagerly awaited follow-up to the original essay, the authors give us an expansive and eloquent manifesto for political change. What Americans really want, and what could serve as the basis for a new politics, is a vision capable of inspiring us to greatness. Making the case for abandoning old categories (nature/market, left/right), the authors articulate a pragmatism fit for our times that has already found champions in such prominent figures as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
This book will hit the same nerve as What’s the Matter with Kansas and Don’t Think of an Elephant. But its analysis will reshape American politics for decades to come.
Conventional environmentalist policy is perfectly compatible with an optimistic vision of a landscape dotted with windmills and solar panels, of high-speed trains and energy-efficient office towers. But to win, Nordhaus and Shellenberger persuasively argue, environmentalists must stop congratulating themselves for their own willingness to confront inconvenient truths and must focus on building a politics of shared hope rather than relying on a politics of fear.