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Greens' dilution of their conservation effort

If one checks the policies of the Australian Greens Party ('The Greens') on its website the non-environmental conservation ones are shown with a * (see below).

Of The Greens' 44 policies, some 28 are NOT directly about environmental conservation. Many policies are about Left social justice issues such as civil rights. Nothing wrong with caring for people, but what's happening to the commitment to care for the forests - The Greens bread and butter?

The benefit of taking on a broader policy platform is that The Greens have shrugged off the stigma and core criticism of being only a single issue party (an environmentalist ('green') only party. In doing so, The Greens have become more mainstream.

The problem is that the 'green' effort has been diluted toward human issues with Left socialist and civil rights agendas, which means 'The Greens' label has become a misnomer. 'Green' has become 'Pink'. Many of its policies are now human pink.

Many environmental conservation groups seeking active support from The Greens are invariable disappointed by the thin on-ground support. The Greens do not have a mandate on conservation politics. They don't even in many cases have a contributing presence.

The Greens origins in 1972 with the United Tasmanian Group started out supporting the Lake Pedder Action Group (LPAG) in trying to save Tasmania's Lake Pedder from being flooded for hydro-electricity.

Lake Pedder was eventually flooded. The Tasmanian Greens went on to save the Franklin River in Tasmania

and on to bigger and broader causes. Many of the current policies have now nothing to do with environmental conservation and in so doing have diluted their commitment to environmental conservation.

It's no wonder that many traditional Labor voters are now aligned this political party. Conversely, it is no wonder that The Greens' dilution of conservation has created a political vacuum in environmental conservation politics in Australia.

But you be the judge...

GREENS POLICIES

(as at Halloween 2010):

* = policy has nothing to do with environmental conservation

Agriculture & Natural Resources
o Genetically Manipulated Organisms
o Natural Resources
o Sustainable Agriculture

Care for People
o Childcare*
o Children and Young People*
o Disability*
o Drugs, Substance Abuse and Addiction *
o Education*
o Health*
o Housing*
o Immigration and Refugees*
o Indigenous Australians*
o Multiculturalism*
o Older People*
o Sexuality and Gender Identity*
o Social Services*
o Sport and Physical Recreation*
o Women*

Climate Change and Energy
o Climate Change and Energy
o Nuclear

Environment
o Animals
o Biological Diversity
o Environmental Principles
o Marine and Coastal Areas
o Population
o Waste
o Water and Inland Aquatic Environments

Human Rights & Democracy
o Community Participation in Government*
o Constitutional Reform and Democracy*
o Global Governance
o Human Rights*
o International Relations*
o Justice*
o Overseas Aid*
o Peace and Security*

Media, Arts & Science
o Arts*
o Media and Communications*
o Science and Technology*

Sustainable Economy
o Corporate Governance*
o Economics*
o Employment and Industrial Relations*
o Global Economics*
o Sustainable Planning and Transport.


[Source: http://greens.org.au/policies ]

I make four summary observations of The Greens as follows:

1. The original environmental conservation effort of The Greens has been steadily diluted and distracted as the Party has (1) sought more mainstream acceptance and (2) invited under its wing those with non-environmental conservation agendas - I have collectively branded these 'pink' - which is intentionally open to interpretation - 'pale Red', 'alternative lifestyle', 'liberal values', 'civil rights activists', but distinguishably human focused, not environmentally focused!

Hence much of The Greens polices are now grouped under 'Care for People', 'Human Rights & Democracy', and 'Media, Arts & Science.'

The Greens are suffering a classic 'quality for quantity compromise' and in seeking mainstream popularism have become a clichéd jack of all trades and master of none. Worse, they risk alienating their original environmental conservation ideological support base.

2. Scores of socialists and humanists disaffected within Australia's dominant Left-wing party - the Australian Labor Party (ALP) have become disillusioned by Labor's gradual Center-Right direction and by its corrosive factional politics. Many have defected to The Greens. In turn they have influence the direction of The Greens and the Greens in their conciliatory habit have modified their policy effort to adopt more and more 'pink' social justice agenda. With this 'accommodation' The Greens core environmental conservation focus is being diluted by increasing 'pink' 'Left-leaning', social justice policies.

3. The core driver of environmental degradation (including pollution, habitat loss, species extinctions) is the exponential human population increase and the unchecked encouraged consumerism per capita. More people in the same area causes more pressure on the environment - simple logic!

Climate change is merely a background broad incremental consequence; it is the consequence, not the driver of the environmental problems!

Brown and his Greens have sided with the population control lobby but only in vague in-principled support. Reason for the token support is that the new pink allegiances and policies adopted by The greens have inherently compromised the ability of The Greens to achieve a consensus on a population control policy that would be effective in reducing its environmental impact.

The Greens are now beholden to its 'pink' policies on social justice, yet have failed to recognise that both social justice problems and environmental problems are compounded by excesses in human population.

4. The genteel, academic and legalese make up of The Greens leadership has shaped a group think culture of idealistic passiveness with any change management specifying a conciliatory approach. A lack of effective principled 'balls' has meant a failure to take the conservation fight to the protagonists - the selfish property developers, property speculators, stock market, the banks, the growth lobby, the big corporate exploiters, the self-sustainable captains of industry and industrialisation.

Is it then any wonder, with The Greens beholden to a 'pink' agenda displacing their environmental conservation core, that conservation groups are disaffected with The Greens and that we are experiencing the emergence of a fresh wave of political groups fill the political void?

* Australian Protectionist Party
* Stable Population Party of Australia
* Australia First Party (NSW) Incorporated of which I acknowledge being an active member.

Conclusion

If The Greens continue down their popularist vote grabbing 'pink' path, it is only a matter of time before the critical mass of environmental conservation disaffection in The Greens realises a need for an alternative genuine 'green' party to emerge. Personally, a political wing of The Wilderness Society has best chance of achieving that. There is logic in this assessment, but that is another article.

Comments

Senator Bob Brown in March this year said former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's vision of a "big Australia" with a population of 35 million by 2050 isn't sustainable. The Greens want an inquiry to investigate Australia's "carrying capacity" in terms of population impacts on infrastructure, the environment, health and education. It would report back by mid-2011.
However, on the big issues of the previous election campaign - immigration and population growth - Bob Brown offers nothing but equivocation and confused messages.
In response to the intergenerational report last year which famously projected Australia would have nearly 15 million more people in 2050, Brown called for ... an inquiry. A review. Another report.
Sarah Hanson-Young, the Greens senator from South Australia, tried to claim "Compassion is key to any discussion of population growth". The party's approach to asylum seekers is clear cut.
The Australian Green Party presents itself as the leading advocate of environmental issues, so you would expect them to have a strong policy on curbing population growth. How can they advocate the addressing of anthropogenic climate change and support a higher population?
Our economic migration plan needs to be abandoned so we are forced to rely on our own human resources, and have training and education funded properly, but we can't have the predicted millions of refugees that could be homeless in the future. Not only will there be territorial wars, as the planet has no new frontiers to colonise, but there will be refugees from climate change, and overpopulation.
The Greens policy on population is too broad, idealistic and vague.
Surely it is too late to "work to achieve a sustainable relationship between humans and the environment by taking action....".
With our rising greenhouse gas emissions one of the highest per capita in the world, the unsustainability of our MDB food bowl, our world record mammal extinction rate, rampant logging of forests etc etc, their environmental policies would be a hard to implement against market forces demanding jobs and economic benefits!
Humans and human population numbers are the planet's biggest environmental threat!
The Greens should make their policies and objectives clearer.

I agree that the Greens lack of a population policy seems to be an astonishing oversight for any group which claims to be pro-environmental. However I would argue that it is a symptom of of their lack of genuine commitment to social justice rather than being caused by a "focus ... toward human issues with Left socialist and civil rights agendas" or as the author John Marlowe has put it.

If the Greens genuinely cared about the poor and human rights, they would have had much more to say about how immigration, demanded by land speculators, has impoverished the poorest in this country and driven many more previously well-off people into housing stress. This has happened because it has increased the demand for the commodity of shelter over which speculators have gained a monopoly. The fact that hardly any Greens have said a word about this suggests to me that their concern for human rights is as shallow as their concern for the environment.

Vivienne and Geoffrey, your above comments are valuable and I respond to the discussion by making four summary observations. (On learing from your comments, I have since changed my reference to Greens 'focus' to Greens 'effort').

1. The original environmental conservation focus of The Greens has been steadily diluted and distracted as the Party has (1) sought more mainstream acceptance and (2) invited under its wing those with non-environmental conservation agendas - I have collectively branded these 'pink' - which is intentionally open to interpretation - 'pale Red', 'alternative lifestyle', 'liberal values', 'civil rights activists', but distinguishably human focused, not environmentally focused!

Hence much of The Greens polices are now grouped under 'Care for People', 'Human Rights & Democracy', and 'Media, Arts & Science.'

The Greens are suffering a classic 'quality for quantity compromise' and in seeking mainstream popularism have become a clichéd jack of all trades and master of none. Worse, they risk alienating their original environmental conservation ideological support base.

2. Scores of socialists and humanists disaffected within Australia's dominant Left-wing party - the Australian Labor Party (ALP) have become disillusioned by Labor's gradual Center-Right direction and by its corrosive factional politics. Many have defected to The Greens. In turn they have influence the direction of The Greens and the Greens in their conciliatory habit have modified their policy focus to adopt more and more 'pink' social justice agenda. With this 'accommodation' The Greens core environmental conservation focus is being diluted by increasing 'pink' 'Left-leaning', social justice policies.

3. The core driver of environmental degradation (including pollution, habitat loss, species extinctions) is the exponential human population increase and the unchecked encouraged consumerism per capita. More people in the same area causes more pressure on the environment - simple logic!

Climate change is merely a background broad incremental consequence; it is the consequence, not the driver of the environmental problems!

Brown and his Greens have sided with the population control lobby but only in vague in-principled support. Reason for the token support is that the new pink allegiances and policies adopted by The greens have inherently compromised the ability of The Greens to achieve a consensus on a population control policy that would be effective in reducing its environmental impact.
The Greens are now beholden to its 'pink' policies on social justice, yet have failed to recognise that both social justice problems and environmental problems are compounded by excesses in human population.

4. The genteel, academic and legalese make up of The Greens leadership has shaped a group think culture of idealistic passiveness with any change management specifying a conciliatory approach. A lack of effective principled 'balls' has meant a failure to take the conservation fight to the protagonists - the selfish property developers, property speculators, stock market, the banks, the growth lobby, the big corporate exploiters, the self-sustainable captains of industry and industrialisation.

Is it then any wonder, with The Greens beholden to a 'pink' agenda displacing their environmental conservation core, that conservation groups are disaffected with The Greens and that we are experiencing the emergence of a fresh wave of political groups fill the political void?

* Australian Protectionist Party
* Stable Population Party of Australia
* Australia First Party (NSW) Incorporated of which I acknowledge being an active member.

Conclusion

If The Greens continue down their popularist vote grabbing 'pink' path, it is only a matter of time before the critical mass of environmental conservation disaffection in The Greens sees a new alternative 'green' party emerge. Personally, a political wing of The Wilderness Society has best chance of achieving that.
There is logic in this assessment, but that is another article.


Author's note: I have since added this comment to the text of my article.

Good and wholesome policies from Australia First Party.
1. Ensure Australia Retains Full Independence.
2. Rebuild Australian Manufacturing Industries.
3. Control Foreign Ownership.
4. Reduce and Limit Immigration.
5. Abolish Multiculturalism.
6. Introduce Citizen's Initiated Referenda.
7. Strengthen the Family.
8. Strive To Rebuild A United Australia.
The Australia First Party do not mention the environment, or protecting our rivers, forests, coasts, wildlife and biodiversity. However, with such patriotism and sovereignty being promoted, they inherently should reduce environmental impacts by abolishing multiculturalism and reducing or limiting immigration - the main source of our population growth. We don't hear enough of them. Globalisation is threatening our control of natural and man-made assets. We are not part of Asia, or a global resource. Our control and sovereignty needs to be promoted. We are being sold out by our current political policies, based on economic growth at all costs.

The Greens policy on population is too broad, idealistic and vague.

It is perfectly reasonable for the Greens to make policies on a wide range of issues. They wouldn't be a real political party otherwise. But unfortunately their policies on population are too broad, idealistic and vague. Overpopulation is the greatest problem facing Australia. We are mildly overpopulated now, and becoming more and more overpopulated by the day. Bob Brown, for all his virtues, doesn't fully appreciate this.

The greens population policy should consist of one simple sentence:

"We will halt Australia's population growth immediately."

Simple, unambiguous and to the point.

The Australian Greens, with so much 'Red' Labor Left influence, are politically aligning into a confused murky 'brown' as they build numbers recruiting disaffected Labor Lefties.

Disaffected and defecting Labor Left are clutching on to the least worst alternative - The Greens. But old habits die hard and so these Labor Lefties now with The Greens have steadily wormed their extreme Left agenda into Greens leadership platform and policy.

Meanwhile traditional 'Greenies' remain loyal to the Party, despite the clear platform colour changing, simply because they 'can't find a better man' flying the small 'g' green flag.

Other political hopefuls seek any alternative to Lib/Lab 20th Century Laboral conservatism, yet without a clear vision, become stuck in a perverted kaleidescope of ideology that only further confuses and distracts - just making the Greens more ineffectual.

The Greens used to have an inferiority complex about being a single issue party. However, their born again mission to become more 'mainstream' has seen them go to the other extreme. Green policies are now so numerous that they outnumber those of the Liberals, Labor and National combined!

Big 'G' Green has become politically aligned to almost any idealistic notion that is 'alternative', so long as it differentiates them from the other mob - the Laboral Centre Right.

So big 'G' Greens have now drifted into issues so far removed from their environmental conservation core as to make their namesake a misnomer. Perhaps 'New Labor' would be a more apt name, or has that name already been taken? Still, the Greens have now wondered into alliances like feminism, gay rights, gay marriage, multiculturalism, multilateralism, pacifism, childcare, housing, ageing, and suddenly pure chlorophyll Greenies wake up one day to learn their leaders are endorsing heroine injecting rooms in Kings Cross! What planet are we on?

Greens are the new brown - lovely colour that, says everything about ideology, direction and strategy!

Greens, with so much red influence, are browning and smelling decidedly unnatural.

I agree that the influence of 'red' groups in the Greens is detrimental, but not necessarily for the same reasons as John Marlowe.

I consider socialism a laudable political goal and if it were incorporated into the platform of the Greens it would actually add to their value as an alternative pro-environmental political group rather than detract from it.

The problem is that, as far as I can tell, all significant far-left Marxist 'revolutionary' groups in Australia, including those whose influence in the Greens John Marlowe has discussed, aren't socialist at all. I think true socialists would not seem as anywhere near as alien to normal Australians as most members of these groups manage to seem.

From what I have heard, no-borders unlimited immigration elements at grass roots level drown out and silence moderate voices within the Greens party who ask for a sensible population approach which is in the interests of the environment as well as present and future generations of Australians.

I am particularly upset about one of their policies that says they support green businesses that use native species. Do they mean flora or fauna? Letters sent to all Greens Senators emphatically state they mean flora - so why don't they just change the wording to avoid confusion?

It looks suspiciously like they support the kangaroo and possum industries, particularly in light of the fact that they do NOTHING to protect those native animals from the yawning jaws of commerce.

Perhaps they are angling for the rural vote? Or trying to appease meat-eaters who can no longer eat cow or sheep guilt-free by giving them the option to eat kangaroo or possum?

So much for protecting native species. The Greens Animals policy states as a key principle that "native animals and their habitats must be protected". Australian Greens Animals policy

Do they really believe it's possible to 'harvest' our wildlife sustainably and that is what they mean by 'protection'? If so, someone should tell them that if every Australian ate kangaroo only once a week they would need to kill 96 million kangaroos a year, four times more than exist right now. That excludes kangaroo meat sold as dog food and exported.

"It’s embarrassing for Australia that we eat our own wildlife ....I’m here to tell you it’s just not right. Simply do not buy, use or eat kangaroo products”
~ Steve Irwin
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