In the Loop

In the Loop: February 2, 2007 Archive

Are environmental values "American" values?

Posted at 10:45 AM on February 2, 2007 by Jeff Horwich

That's a question we're thinking about for this next show. There are have been multiple studies and papers (here's a good one) suggesting that many of the basic values of American culture -- independence, control over our destiny, competition, materialism, optimism -- are in conflict with environmental messages (for example, making personal changes for the greater good).

As an influential conservative commentator puts it, environmentalism is "anti-capitalist; it is anti-freedom; it is pro-big government; it's pro-total control over as much of life as these people can engineer and one of the things [environmentalists] do is live in the world of doom and gloom." This doesn't speak to all Americans, of course; but it does speak to many, to varying degrees.

On the other hand, there are people arguing the opposite: that environmentalism and conservation can be as American as apple pie. The argument points that out Americans love their wild lands, and that they also love to be leaders -- they should lead in this area as well (The Economist made this point in a recent cover story).

Environmental groups are in the position of learning how to make the case in a way that resonates with Americans beyond those who already get the message. Can that be done? What's the trick?

"Shoot me. With a recyclable bullet!"

Posted at 6:45 PM on February 2, 2007 by Jeff Horwich

What does that phrase mean? Where does it come from? Are we just trying to get your attention?

loopcast.jpgYou'll have to listen to the new LoopCast to find out. In the latest, we recap a few moments from our Loop Gathering last week, when listeners helped get us thinking about what it means to be green -- and the challenges of trying to get a whole country's-worth of people to feel the same.

Stream or Download the latest episode. (Download help)

If you're using these manual links to listen, don't mind the references at the beginning -- they're a nod to the fact that the podcast is now carried by NPR. If you are not subscribed to the podcast (to be able to get our LoopCasts and shows automatically), learn more about how to do that.... podcasting is THE FUTURE, man!

And the present, since you can actually do it right now.

February 2007
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