WHEN WE CAME UP with “The Greening of Politics” as the theme for this issue of Alternatives, little did we know we’d be competing with headline stories in the mainstream media. At the time, Elizabeth May hadn’t declared her Green Party candidacy and Stéphane Dion’s chances of becoming Liberal leader matched today’s -10°C temperature. Stephen Harper still thought climate change was a socialist plot (actually, he probably still does), and Jack Layton was the environment’s lone hope.

Fortunately, we bring you articles that go beyond what you’ll read in the popular press. This issue is full of ideas about solving environmental woes. To find them, we delve back in time with Stephen Bocking’s spectacular comparison of the 1962 classic Silent Spring and Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. James Meadowcroft’s overview of Canada’s short, three-and-a-half-decade-long environmental history should be required reading for all students enrolled in environmental studies and every corporate exec. Then, moving forward in time, Nicola Ross and Robert Paehlke reveal what they learned after asking today’s political leaders how they would deal with climate change.

From Marais, Paris’ gay nightclub district, where Andil Gosine credits the European Greens’ success to how they embrace queer and immigrant rights, to Cara Camcastle’s study of the link between postmaterialism and membership in Canada’s Green Party. From Chris Gill’s clever climate change sketches to a description of how a global orgasm, yes really, can help bring about world peace. From a review of Bill Moyers’ disturbing biblical description of the Rapture in Welcome to Doomsday and its impact on the Bush administration’s environmental policies, to citizen success in Jamaica’s Pear Tree Bottom.

This issue of Alternatives takes readers into a realm where the actions of government, corporations, citizens and middle institutions such as schools converge to transform society as we know it. It’s a place where the environment receives its due respect. Where, as peace activist Ursula Franklin suggested in a 1994 address at the University of Waterloo, the Canadian government looks at “nature in the way it looks at the United States: as a tremendous, sometimes dangerous power with which one must live.”

Could our political leaders begin to consider how Canadian policies and actions will affect the environment in the same way that they agonize over how decisions will be received south of the border? Could environmental protection, spurred on by a warming planet, finally take its place alongside the economy and social issues, and become, to quote James Meadowcroft, “a core area of state responsibility”?

Help make it so.

From the Alternadivas

Nicola Ross is the former Editor of Alternatives Journal, and is a member of the editorial board.

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