March 5, 2015

Conservation is Conservative

Are Green Groups the Problem?

Following on the heels of the Sabin article shared earlier this week, this interview of Naomi Klein by Jason Mark is even more pointed.

“I think the Big Green groups are becoming deeply irrelevant. Some get a lot of money from corporations and rich donors and foundations, but their whole model is in crisis.”

Click Salon to read the entire piece.

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  1. Chet Sansbury says:

    Here’s a link to information about Naomi Klein. It’s interesting that she is a member of It seems that she believes not enough is being done to reduce human effects on climate change. Yet she talks little in this Salon article about Congressional obstructionism.

    Is the Wildlife Federation, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the LCV, the EDF, the Wilderness Society, Clean Water Action, and other national environmental organizations irrelevant? Hardly. They have members totaling in the millions.

    Does irrelevancy also apply to REP/ ConservAmerica ? Is it making any difference? Has it become more like an arm of the RNC instead of a grassroots members organization of Republican voters who believe in strong environmental protection programs?

    • Great comment and question.

      Here’s the issue: Unlike the “big green” groups, REP/ConservAmerica has never received major (or minor) capacity building funding from environmental funders. They are quick to ask us to sign on to letters, statements, and programs to “prove” bi-partisan support. For some reason (fear of actually building a politically viable conservation-minded GOP that would be stronger competition, and therefore endanger a broader, liberal agenda?), they continue to fund what we call “preaching to the choir.” The Choir members already are on the side of environmental protection–its the folks on the right side of the political spectrum who need convincing. And, the messenger is just as important as the message. (See Lindsay Graham’s statement post collapse of cap and trade in the Senate).

      Bob Inglis has made more of an impact in conservative circles in less than two years than Al Gore or Bill McKibben have made in a decade.

        The messenger just as important as the message.

      As numerous articles this year have pointed out, Republican lawmakers view big green groups as arms of the Democratic Party. How is a Republican/conservative environmental group going to make an impact within the GOP by adopting the positions and voice of those green groups? The bottom line is that GOP lawmakers aren’t going to budge until they know a majority of the people who vote for them care about these issues. ConservAmerica, as a 501c4 organization, is the home for those voters.

      Naomi Klein’s question of whether Big Green is to blame or not is relevant. Had they not abandoned a true non-partisan approach, we’d be in a much better position today. (Intellectually, one does have to cut them some slack…the Democrats held the White House, the House, and the Senate for the first two years of President Obama’s presidency. Missed opportunity.)

    • The good news is that a well known Republican communications firm performed a study earlier this year. Even the firm was surprised when they found that, on average, 25,000-35,000 activist Republican voters who put a high priority on environmental protection live in the typical red district. Imagine if a major environmental funder granted funds to tap into those voters–the conversation would turn on a dime.

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