By Fertile Ground Institute for Social and Environmental Justice / Featured image: Max Wilbert
Although more and more people agree that we must undertake massive changes to address the environmental crises, there is disagreement as to what approach to take. At the risk of oversimplification, most solutions fall into one of two camps. We call them “Bright Green” and “Deep Green.”
Bright Green solutions rely on government legislation, technological innovations and structural adjustments. Examples include massive investments in energy efficiency, developing cleaner energy sources, reducing car dependence, and converting to local and organic agriculture. Bright Green tends to emphasize the positive, and eschew anger and fear as counter-productive.
Deep Green solutions are based on the belief that technological innovations, no matter how well intentioned, inevitably lead to accelerated resource depletion and more pollution. It views the reliance on technology to address the crises as akin to putting out a fire with gasoline. The Deep Green is more likely to look at pre-industrial and pre-civilization ways of living as solutions to the crises. In fact, many believe that the quicker we dismantle the apparatus of our civilization, the greater chance we have for survival.
Deep Green sees fear and anger as rational responses to the scale of the rape of the natural world and the destructive nature of society. The Deep Green movement channels that energy into actively bringing down the apparatus of civilization and creating communities based on the values and social structures of the original peoples. That said, the Deep Green movement also values joy, happiness connection, and positive action, but does not value-judge them to be more valid or productive than fear, anger or direct action.
Bright Green and Deep Green do overlap in their shared desire for structural adjustments. The main difference here would be in “how much” and “how quickly.” Whereas Bright Green wants us to ease into changes that won’t alienate people, Deep Green sees an urgency for profound change and that it is unavoidable that this will be a difficult transition.
The Bright Green movement, because it “feels” better and does not threaten the dominant power structure, gets the vast majority of attention in the press and in public discourse. This is a travesty. The environmental crisis we face is so massive that, at a minimum, we need to consider every possible strategy.
Fertile Ground is a community that is part of the Deep Green movement. We share a belief that Deep Green provides solutions that not only address the magnitude of the problem, but also offer a foundation for the kind of community we want to live in.