From conference presentations, customers meetings, political activity and internal debates, I would like to clarify how the "green" Environmental Sustainability movement is different from the seventies and early eighties.
In the seventies and early eighties, the green / environmentalist movement was focused on saving the earth from humans. Popular publications like Gaia, Earth First, Greenpeace and the Worldwatch Institute consistently communicated negatively impacting the ecological stability of a region in light of industrial human activity.
Environmental economists at the time countered with logical measurement environmental impact models as social impact externalities (what society was willing to pay for clean air, a wildlife habitat or stable ecosystem for endangered species). They speculated on the level of pollution tolerated by a society or region (a magical social equilibrium).
In the last decade, many scientists as well as activists have promoted that while life is fragile, the Earth is very resilient and will eventually get along just fine without us if we make too many mistakes along the way.
Beyond the temptation for purely positive public perception issue, today's environmental sustainability movement is universally supported by many extremely diverse political, social and economic interest groups. And the reason. it has nothing to do with saving "the Earth"
The modern environmental movement today is uniquely focused on one primary objective: Save human civilization.
More specifically, this movement has demonstrated a passionate interest in saving geopolitical and economic stability for
If cities drown, becomes intoxicated with polluted air or farmlands and fishing lanes vanish , market places disappear and consumer and business wealth evaporates. In the industrialized world, significant reductions in the ability to acquire basic living expectations (example: food, water, health care, communication and energy) by a large enough portion of the population quickly leads to predictable political and economic instability. And that's the problem.
Many environmental focused scientists are predicting rapid dramatic climatic change which could significantly impact political and economic stability in the industrialized world. And those same scientists agree that humans are the cause of this rapid acceleration.
As energy prices and environmental regulations are increasing, organizations and governments are seeing the bottom line of of environmental damage beyond the magical social equilibrium.
Moreover, in the seventies and eighties, the word "green" applied to environmental activism could be interpreted as a bad or good depending on one's political affliction. Today, it's generally accepted as an important strategy for any government, industry or business. It's not just for public perception, but now for competitive survival.