I just noticed Andrew Sullivan pointing to a rightwing enviro blog called Terra Rossa (“red earth.” cute.), calling it “encouraging.” Indeed it is. A major project in my enviro-focused bachelor’s degree focused on interest overlap between enviros like myself and similar groups on the right. Indeed, a startling number of groups like Ducks, Unlimited, the Blue Ribbon Coalition and the NRA want almost exactly the same thing that most environmentalists want. Only at that point did I start to appreciate that narrowminded, selfrighteous buffoonery within environmentalism crippled the movement almost as effectively as Exxon’s lavishly funded PR.
The enviro movement never recovered from the Rachel Carson-Ed Abbey schism that pitched coalition builders like Sierra Club and the Nature Conservancy against purists at Greenpeace and Earth First!, but sometimes Muhammad gets off easy and the mountain comes to him. Accelerating global change has people worried more or less across the spectrum. As a result everyone up to and including evangelicals are losing patience with failure and stalling tactics within their own caucus. The Republican party badly needs to shed its well-deserved image as the major obstacle to environmental progress or it risks ghettoizing itself further than corruption, mismanagement and crypto-fascism have already done.
Obviously the party needs new ideas, but don’t waste your time looking on Terra Rossa. Tucker Eskew works in the White House communications office. Whit Ayres is a partner in a DC Republican public opinion firm. Amanda Phraner works for Adfero, a Republican online communications firm. Jim Coleman is a common enough name to stump Google and the blog doesn’t provide a bio, but you see where this is going. Not one of these guys has a history of environmental activism. They don’t have any identifiable ties to rightwing conservation groups like I mentioned above. They’re trained communications professionals. Their brief says write about the environment so they do it.
The blog is indeed good news as Sully says, but not in the way he means. The GOP remains as obstructionist as ever and, as always, most rightwing enviro sites will resemble Exxon-funded denial mills like TechCentralStation. However, dumping cash into astroturf like Terra Rossa indicates a vulnerable flank. They’re right to be worried.
Oh, and Andrew? Keep calibrating that BS detector.