October 31, 2012

The Green Party: Advocates for Environmental & Social Justice. ~ Stephanie Libo

Photo: Shaun Merritt

The 2012 presidential election comes to a close next month and only one thing is certain: the Democratic and Republican Party candidates—President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney—have talked little about the many environmental issues that America faces.

One unique party, The Green Party, differs from the Democratic and Republican Parties as much as Obama and Romney differ from each other.

The “Greens” describe their efforts enthusiastically:

“We are grassroots activists, environmentalists, advocates for social justice, nonviolent resisters and regular citizens who’ve had enough of corporate-dominated politics. Our growth has been rapid since our founding in 2001 and Green candidates are winning elections throughout the U.S.”

The Green Party first met in the U.S. in 1984 in St. Paul, Minnesota, where they adopted the ten key values that all local Green Parties use as their basic definition. To date, there are 134 elected “Greens” across the United States. The positions held by the elected officials range greatly and span from mayor and city council positions to school board members and sanitation district officials.

This year, the Green Party Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates are Dr. Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala.

(See Stein’s recent talk about the two “corporate” parties in the following video.)

http://<a href="http://youtu.be/74qcUZXJ16k">http://youtube.com/watch?v=74qcUZXJ16k</a>

The Green Party’s key values range from environmentalism in the U.S. to combatting social issues across the globe.

The environmentally-driven values of the party are: Ecological Wisdom, Personal and Global Responsibility, Respect for Diversity, and Future Focus and Sustainability.

The social and global values of the party include: Grassroots Democracy, Social Justice and Equal Opportunity, Non-Violence, Decentralization, Community-Based Economics and Economic Justice, Feminism and Gender Equality.

In short, this distinctive party emphasizes environmentalism, a democracy based at the citizen and local level, social justice for all, and respect for diversity, peace and non-violence. While President Obama puts value on environmental issues and has made strides toward building a more sustainable country, the Green Party takes environmentalism to a new level of importance.

The key value, Ecological Wisdom, highlights this strong position:

“Human societies must operate with the understanding that we are part of nature, not separate from nature. We must maintain an ecological balance and live within the ecological and resource limits of our communities and our planet. We support a sustainable society which utilizes resources in such a way that future generations will benefit and not suffer from the practices of our generation”

To put this value into practice, the party encourages agriculture that replenishes soil, the move to an energy-efficient economy and respectful living among natural systems.

The Green Party also supports the environment with the key value of Respecting Diversity. It encourages respect for all citizens, genders, ethnicities, races, religions and sexual preferences. This key value also emphasizes respecting biodiversity, or the variation of all life forms in our environment and on our planet.

The next key value that emphasizes the Green Party of America’s environmental point of view is Personal and Global Responsibility.

“We encourage individuals to act to improve their personal well-being and, at the same time, to enhance ecological balance and social harmony. We seek to join with people and organizations around the world to foster peace, economic justice and the health of the planet.”

This policy may seem ideal to many who seek a non-violent coming together of the global community for a greater good.

The last key value that promotes the environment is Future Focus and Sustainability. The Green Party hopes to counterbalance impulses for short-term profits and assure that economic development, new technologies and fiscal policies are being done responsibly for the future generations who will inherit them.

The Party’s key values may seem perfect to many citizens who appreciate and value the environment as well as the Party’s firm stance on social justice, but these values may be easier said than done in today’s American society.

America may or may not be ready and capable for such a large step in policy change.

Some questions can be raised about the practicality of the Green Party. Does it put enough emphasis on stimulating the American economy in this time of need? Is it too passive in terms of foreign policy in times of global turmoil?

The Party slogan states, “Another U.S. is possible, another party is necessary.”

For The Green Party, their policies are not only enough, but necessary in moving America towards a greener, more responsible future.

It may not be the most realistic route for the country today, but the importance of considering all options when making the important decision of how and by whom American will be run in the future, remains undeniable.

Adapted from Living Green Magazine.

Stephanie Libo is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Life Sciences Communication. She is originally from Los Angeles, California. Stephanie enjoys cooking, hiking, playing sports and cheering on the Wisconsin Badgers at football games. She is also an intern for Living Green Magazine for the fall 2012 semester.


Editor: Jamie Morgan

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