I’m a Dark Green

- My friend, Kael, turned me onto the idea, several months ago, that all of us with green leanings can be further subdivided according to how we think it is all going to turn out.  

- We determined that I would be a ‘Dark Green’ in this ranking system.  A Dark Green is defined as follows:

Dark greens, tend to emphasize the need to pull back from consumerism (sometimes even from industrialization itself) and emphasize local solutions, short supply chains and direct connection to the land. They strongly advocate change at the community level. In its best incarnations, dark green thinking offers a lot of insight about bioregionalism, reinhabitation, and taking direct control over one’s life and surroundings (for example through transition towns): it is a vision of collective action. In a less useful way, dark greens can tend to be doomers, warning of (sometimes even seeming to advocate) impending collapse. Some thinkers, of course, (for instance, Bill McKibben and Paul Glover) blend a belief in the rural relocalization efforts of dark greens with the more design- and technology-focused urban solutions of bright greens. (Some of my own thinking can be found in these pieces Deep Economy: Localism, Innovation and Knowing What’s What, Resilient Community and The Outquisition.)

- That’s a slightly modified excerpt from an piece I found on the Worldchanging Blog – which I link to, below.

- If you want to know where you are on the Pollyanna to Apocalypse scale, give it a read.  

- And remember, your life might depend on making the right choice here – unless you just want to pretend it is all unimportant.

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Bright Green, Light Green, Dark Green, Gray: The New Environmental Spectrum

Alex Steffen
February 27, 2009 4:04 PM

People ask me with increasing frequency to explain what I mean by “bright green,” and what the differences are between bright green, light green, dark green and so on.

I can understand the confusion. The term is being used more and more widely, but the available explanations aren’t very helpful: the Wikipedia entry on the topic is far from clear, and with a handful of exceptions (like Ross Robertson’s excellent article), most of the media coverage so far has tended to muddy the water in one way or another.

What is bright green? In its simplest form, bright green environmentalism is a belief that sustainable innovation is the best path to lasting prosperity, and that any vision of sustainability which does not offer prosperity and well-being will not succeed. In short, it’s the belief that for the future to be green, it must also be bright. Bright green environmentalism is a call to use innovation, design, urban revitalization and entrepreneurial zeal to transform the systems that support our lives.

It’s been pretty amazing to watch “bright green” take off. Since I first coined the term, thousands of organizations — businesses, NGOs, blogs, student groups, even churches — have adopted the label. For this year’s COP-15 climate summit in Copenhagen, both the parallel expo and the lead-in youth summit are calling themselves Bright Green. I’ve even started to see the term bubbling up in pop culture, used by people who clearly get it.

Of course, not everyone talking about sustainability is bright green. I contrast bright green thinking with three other prominent schools of thought: light greens, dark greens and grays. All have some overlap, and in reality, even dedicated sustainability advocates tend to adopt different approaches on different questions. But here’s a brief run-down:

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4 Responses to “I’m a Dark Green”

  1. cynara says:

    And I’m a Deep Dark Green — we’re all freakin’ doomed, but we have a moral obligation to be as green as possible until we’re worm food, so that other species might survive.

    Have a Nice Day!

  2. Dennis says:

    I agree with you, Lady G. And I do intend to keep plugging away. It’s a fine balance between idealism and pragmatism. To stay out of harm’s way and to continue to fight the good fight.

    Have you read the book called, “White Plague” by Frank Herbert, author of Dune?

  3. cynara says:

    No, but I recently picked up a copy of Dune, and it’s waiting in Amerika for me to read this summer. A friend of mine recommended it.

  4. Dennis says:

    Dune is addictive. And then there’s spice.

    I mentioned the “White Plague” because I’ve thought for years that some very Green and idealistic microbiologist type might take it upon him or herself, to protect those other species and the biosphere by acting on their conviction that the human ‘experiment’ has been a big disaster and needs to go away. Design a microbe to clear us out? Having a degree in Microbiology myself, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched.