Bring Green Movement Back to the Suburbs

Revive environmentalism by making climate change a local issue: Essay

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 21, 2012 9:47 AM CDT

(Newser) – This month marks the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring—but these days, the environmental movement seems to have lost its steam. Pollution ranked as the No. 1 problem in the US in a 1970 survey; today, it hardly ever makes the top five. Writing in the New York Times, Christopher Sellers has a prescription to revive the green movement: Start in the suburbs. The first environmentalists viewed the problem as a local one, a matter of "neighborly civic engagement" that gradually expanded.

They tackled problems such as air quality in slums and toxic waste at industrial sites in their neighborhoods. It's time to recapture that spirit and "reframe climate change as a local issue," writes Sellers. Instead of taking easy potshots at the car-happy 'burbs, modern environmentalists should instead recognize their potential. "The trick will be finding concerns that spark imaginations and mobilize group energies at this local level, and working from there." Read Sellers' full column here.

Environmentalism has roots in the suburbs.
Environmentalism has roots in the suburbs.   (Shutterstock)
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