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A Change of Focus

By Stuart Hertzog
April 4th, 2008

I’m taking a much more wide-ranging view of Green politics

Our Earth from space

You may have noticed that there have been no new postings on this blog since the BC Green Party AGM last October. This was a deliberate hiatus.

In previous posts I’ve been critical of the political direction of the BC Green Party. But following the election of a new leader I decided to give the BC Green party a chance to redeem itself.

Holding back from posting freed me to explore the latest developments in blog technology and social networking. It also allowed me to review my long-term objectives for this blog.

Beyond conventional party politics

As a result, I’m announcing a change of focus for greenpolitics.ca. I’m going to be less focused on the BC Green Party and will start to comment on both the federal and other provincial Canadian Green parties as issues arise.

More important, I’m going to take a much broader view of green politics. I’ll continue to comment on Canadian Green parties, but from a perspective that transcends the conventional idea that green politics is just about getting a few Green Party politicians elected. To me, green politics means far more than that.

Our culture has become profoundly anti-life in many ways. Economic activity based on industrial production that has no basis in Nature has become the dominant paradigm of our global society. Making money has triumphed over preserving life. Somehow, a life-affirming philosophy must emerge that is not destructive of ecosystems, animals, indigenous species, and social cultures.

Human-centred environmentalism

It has become increasingly obvious to myself and many other people that conventional party politics offers only limited possibility of achieving the depth of cultural change necessary to safeguard life on this planet. Although there is a need for political activism, conventional political parties are too afraid of alienating voters to put forward a clear vision of an eco-centric society.

Overall, Canadian Green parties have become more concerned with being acceptable to the middle-ground electorate than tackling the deeply anti-Life aspects of our global culture. Their actions are based on fear, so they cannot offer life-affirming, compassionate, far-sighted, and democratic leadership.

To be fair, many Canadian Greens are concerned with other species and ecosystems. But this doesn’t always translate into far-reaching policy. What passes for ‘green’ politics too often is simply human-centred environmentalism devoid of a deeply-held concern for the wellbeing of all Life.

Would electing Greens be enough?

Federally and provincially, Canadian Green parties have been taken over by conservative elements, either disaffected ‘green’ Liberals or disenfranchised Tories looking for a new political home. Many of these don’t understand the fundamentals of Green politics. They are the Turquoisie — the ‘blue’ Greens.

Their argument is that Greens won’t have any impact until the Green Party achieves electoral power. But electing a few Greens to parliament or provincial legislatures isn’t going to change anything if Green parties continue to practice ‘top-down’ decision-making behind closed doors and those elected to parliament or the legislatures still operate in a self-obsessed, human-centric mode.

To my mind, that is not life-centred, grassroots, inclusive Green democracy. We need something much more far-reaching than that at this critical time in human history. We must reinvent our social culture if we want to protect life on Earth.

Towards a life-affirming culture

Changing the focus of our entire planetary society is no easy task, nor will it be achieved quickly. But even in this darkening time when the forces of war and repression are growing ever-stronger, there is increasing opposition to the self-centred greed and hatred stirred up by the warmongers and profiteers.

Throughout the world, millions of people have come to the conclusion that collectively we are headed for disaster, and that the future we are leaving for our children and grandchildren is not one that offers much hope for their spiritual and material well-being, or for the survival of life on Earth.

So there is hope, but such faith on it’s own won’t save us. We must come together to envision and realise a life-centred culture and philosophy that can stand in opposition to the rapacious destructiveness of today’s global society.

Lovers of Life

To this end, I’ve set up another blog site called loversoflife.net to explore what a truly eco-centric society would look like, and how we can make this a reality. There’s also an associated facebook group you can join. It’s my contribution to the global discussion of the ethics and values that we must adopt en masse if we are to protect Life on this beautiful and thus-far bountiful, Earth.

Please check out these sites regularly and most important, contribute your comments to this vital and ongoing global philosophical discussion. Meanwhile, keep coming back here to greenpolitics.ca, where you’ll find insightful commentary on Canadian green politics that you won’t find anywhere else.

Yours for all of Life on Earth,

Stuart Hertzog

greenpolitics.ca

Victoria, British Columbia

April 4, 2008

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2 Responses

  1. Suzanne Duarte Says:

    Go for it, Stuart! I’ll add your blogs to my website and let you know when it’s up. I myself gave up on American politics for the same reasons a couple of years ago. Education, advocacy, and action at the grassroots is the only way left to ecocentrics. With peak oil, climate change, and economic meltdown staring us in the face, the people have to take their own lives into their hands and gather their tribes for the bumpy ride ahead in this century.

  2. bluegreenblogger Says:

    Hi Stuart,

    I apologise for retaining a degree of anonymity, I’ve had enough grief slung my way in the past, and I’d rather keep the ire online, and at a distance.

    That said, I do believe that a degree of compromise will be required to make progress towards our (often) mutually held objectives. I have, and do believe that we live in a wider community, and that we take part as a political Party with the objective of convincing our fellow Canadians to change their way of life. It is true that I believe the focus of the polity is on human relationships, and our place in the world. Our defining characteristic is as egocentric, but social animals. I believe that people are essentially conservative, and resistant to change. While we might share an objective of bringing about a revolutionary change in attitudes, and behaviour, I think that it must be incremental in nature. That means dumbing down the message, and acquiring a broad appeal. I guess I like to think of myself as a grassroots green as well, but I work to build momentum amongst a largely unreceptive populace. I have found that it is easier to gain adherents by emphasising common grounds and the little things, than to proudly stand as ‘the other’. I know that growing popularity, and broadening membership has been disquieting for many deep greens, and I empathise. It will probably get even more distressing with the next stage in our growth, but I believe that as long as you, and those like you tough it out, then we will, as a group bring Canadians the whole way.

    Be good


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