Deep green snobbery?

A letter I wrote to The Australian today.

Dear editor,

Your editorial ‘Deep-Green Snobbery’ (13/12) dismisses any challenge to outer-suburban, McMansion living as ‘class-hatred’. But the green movement is diverse: people from all walks of life are realising that something is wrong. Certainly people with tertiary education are over-represented, but that might be because critical thinking leads many people to become green.

You dismiss the green movement as being far away from the ‘pragmatic-centre’ of ‘popular sentiment’. But ‘popular sentiment’ is shifting as the world realises that the only pragmatic response to climate change is drastic action. Everyone needs to change; not just the people in the outer-suburbs. You’re right to point out that the outer-suburbs make green living difficult. Part of the challenge is to provide the infrastructure and planning in both new and existing suburbs to make green choices more viable.

Yours sincerely, Nathan Hobby

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4 thoughts on “Deep green snobbery?

  1. Hi Nathan,

    This is great.

    David Holmgren, one of the co-founders of Permaculture suggests in his Permaculture: principles and pathways beyond sustainability that the suburbs actually offer one of the best opportunities for retro-fit towards life which reflects ecological limits.

    Peace to you,

    Harry

  2. It’s a good letter, Nathan — was it to the print or online version? I didn’t see the editorial, but it instantly made me think of things I’ve read recently in The Guardian, surveying how the UK press tries to characterise environmental protest as coming from the “posh”:
    for instance, in the press reaction to the Stansted Airport protesters: ‘”Upper crusties”, they were called. That, or “middle-class militants”, “designer demonstrators”, “the bolshie Barbour brigade” and “well-heeled youngsters”. Never one to beat about the bush, the Sun proclaimed them simply “posh kids”.’ (“Where There’s a Protest, There’s Probably a Posh Kid”, Guardian 10 Dec).

    I’ve seen it a lot in the British press — as they say, the devil has only a small bag of tricks, and it seems the anti-green brigade likewise…

  3. Thanks Harry – glad to hear that, because it’s a bit late to be moving everyone out of the suburbs. We’ll have to do the best we can with them.

    Thanks Tracy – it was the print version. I felt like going on a much longer rant, because The Australian seems so wilful in its constant attacks on the ‘elite’ who are green and literary. (All these columns about DVDs being the true art of today.) With your comments about the Guardian, I guess it shows that there’s a widespread determination to find labels to dismiss greens with. To distance greens from the ‘mainstream’ which is where truth and the real world supposedly exists. I don’t mind being on the margins myself, but climate change shouldn’t be on the margins.

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