Bill McKibben recently wrote “How do you solve a problem like the Democrats?” I suggest the real question is How do you solve a problem with environmentalists like Bill McKibben, the Sierra Club, and the League of Conservation Voters?
Do not get me wrong. Bill McKibben is a brave, dedicated, and resourceful leader for the environment. It is just that here he is wrong (see Daniel Ellsberg and Bill McKibben Are Wrong).
Bill does not see how much he is the problem with the Democrats by always giving them a pass. In this very article he said,
Let’s begin by stipulating that, taken as a whole, they’re better than the Republicans.
Well, no. See The Environment under the Democratic/Republican Uni-Party – Environmental changes for Obama are in the future when they can be changed by Obama or a like minded republican. If you look at the specifics listed in my article and verified by references, Obama’s record is worse than that of Bush.
Bill also said,
So what to do? The narrow window of opportunity that physics provides us makes me doubt that a third party will offer a fast enough answer to come to terms with our changing planet. The Green Party certainly offered the soundest platform in our last elections, and in Germany and Australia the Greens have been decisive in nudging coalition governments towards carbon commitments. But those are parliamentary systems. Here, so far, national third parties have been more likely to serve as spoilers than as wedges …
That is because this mantra that this election is too important, the Republicans are worse, etc. becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. What were your actions Bill? After holding great gatherings throughout the nation and world in 2009, 2010, and 2011 we postponed 2012 to avoid embarrassing Obama. White House Protests were always when Obama was not there. On your “Fossil Fuels 2012″ tour you emphasized how important it was to elect Obama. Now that Obama — who as you correctly say could stop the XL Pipeline all by himself — appears to be leaning towards approving it you seem eager to change the subject and take the focus off of Obama. Why did both Clinton and Kerry — alleged environmentalists — both get a pass for putting out demonstrably false Environmental Impact Statements as Secretary of State? (I remember Robert Redford suggested we write a thank you letter to the president when he temporarily delayed the XL Pipeline. I wonder where he is now.)
Bill is an inspiring leader that approaches genius for what he did in building 350 up from nothing to a world wide organization. He is also absolutely right that time is not on our side. He is wrong to assume the democrats are and just need to ramp up their speed. The democrats most certainly will not change as long as environmentalists give them unwavering unconditional support. The experience of decades shows it is only when the democrats lose to Greens and Republicans that they might pay attention. Time is indeed short.
Photo by Evan Derickson released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.