After reading a recent article by Alex Steffen on www.worldchanging.com I thought I would pass it on and continue the conversation. Alex refers to the different emerging camps in sustainable living as different shades of green (and gray). These terms are starting to take off and I think for good reason. There is a debate going on about how we should best pursue saving our planet through sustainability, and some well defined terms will help in this debate.
Alex describes himself as being “bright green”, a camp that embraces a “belief that sustainable innovation is the best path to lasting prosperity, and that any vision of sustainability which does not offer prosperity and well-being will not succeed.” He says that sustainability must be bright.
People in the “light green” camp “tend to emphasize lifestyle/behavioral/consumer change as key to sustainability, or at least as the best mechanism for triggering broader changes. Light greens strongly advocate change at the individual level.”
“Dark green” is described as a group that “emphasize a need to pull back from consumerism (sometimes even from industrialization itself) and emphasize local solutions, short supply chains and direct connection to the land.” Dark green’s are described as being more concerned about change at the community level.
Lastly, Alex refers to the “Gray’s” as the people who don’t really advocate doing anything.
Now, between the different shades of green I can certainly see good things about each. Any shade of green is better than gray or whatever color you would assign to dead. I certainly cannot dismiss the need for the bright green innovation that I believe will help guide the revolution to come and hopefully put the minds and talent that the U.S. has to offer back on the map. But according to the above definitions, you might have guessed, I have to label myself as being “dark green.” Now besides really loving the movie “Grosse Point Blank,” I wouldn’t describe myself as being “dark.” But I am all about change on a community level. I feel that individuals are weak and undisciplined and that cities and countries are too big to engage in meaningful ways.
Communities can be just big enough to bring strength and the power of numbers, while being just small enough to have individual ownership. Everyone in a community matters. Don’t get me wrong, I believe there is a balance here. I will not openly “pooh pooh” globalization as a boogeyman, but I do believe that while Industrialization and Globalization have been the twin cannons that have launched the human race forward the last century, they must subside this century if we are to survive. As a human race we need a “new” engine to drive us forward. I tend to think that the “dark green’s” out there might have some good answers for what this engine must be.
What shade of green are you?