Where do you place the blame for the environmental crisis - too many people? consumer greed? technology gone amok? And what do you think will save our planet - birth control? appropriate technology? recycling? eco-consumerism? Those solutions are just "Band-Aids on a bleeding Earth, " argues environmental activist Daniel A. Coleman. Where conventional wisdom sees both the cause of the environmental crisis and its cure in individual actions, Coleman says: Look again. By blaming ourselves as individuals, we let governments and corporations off the hook. Making "50 simple" changes in our personal lifestyles is worthwhile, but must not divert our attention from the underlying causes of environmental disaster. The real causes are rooted deep in the politics of human affairs - and so are their solutions. We should be asking: Why do we allow such harm to our environment? How did we create a society with no stake in the future? How can we build a green society? The good news is that we can reverse the process of environmental abuse. Political strategies driven by the key values of ecological responsibility, participatory democracy, environmental justice, and community action are effective. Dan Coleman's stories of citizen groups whose grassroots organizing has already put ecologically sound policies in place demonstrate that the sustainable society is indeed possible. Lucid, lively, probing, serious, yet optimistic - Coleman's analysis is required reading for all who count the earth as their home.
Daniel A. Coleman is the co-founder of the Green movement in North Carolina and helped draft the national Green platform. He works as a writer, computer consultant, campaign organizer, and grassroots activist in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.