Increased Concern for the Environment
by James L. Morrison

[Note: This is a re-formatted manuscript that was originally published in On the Horizon, 1992, 1(1), 8. It is posted here with permission from Jossey Bass Publishers.]

The Greens, a political party known for its focus on environmental issues, appears to have registered enough voters (1% of the votes cast in the last election) to be constituted as California's sixth qualified political party. Though known for its environmental activism, the Green Party of California considers its interests to be much broader. According to Hank Chapot, a Party spokesman, the Greens are "an activist party standing for diversity, ecology, social justice, peace and grass-roots democracy." Other concerns are post- patriarchal values, decentralization and community-based economics. The Greens, originating in Germany, are now located in over 50 countries world-wide. Ballot drives like the one in California are currently being waged in several other states. [Weintraub, D. M. (1991, January 3). Environmentalist green party may have ballot spot. The Los Angeles Times, pp. A3, A26.]

Several European nations are taking the lead in making plans to ban ozone-eating chemicals. Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Britain, Spain, Norway, Switzerland, Italy, and Sweden are making plans to phase out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by l99S. The U.S. is following suit. The new democracies of Eastern Europe, however, have not jumped on the band wagon. Handling CFCs is largely a non-issue in these lands that are struggling just to survive. [Fritz. M. (1992, March 5). European nations race to stop ozone rip. The News & Observer, p. 9A.]

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll last year showed that 67% of Americans are willing to pay 15 or 20 cents more per gallon for cleaner gasoline. But a similar majority opposes a 25 cent a gallon tax to encourage less driving [Knickerbockrer, B. (1991, August 30). Americans adjust their life-styles, slowly, to changes in energy use. The Christian Science Monitor, p. 3.]


These are early signs of a potentially major social revolution characterized by a shift in focus away from the needs of large organizations to the individual needs of people. Concomitant with the political shift away from large organizations may be an increase in interest in the study of the democratic process, with a particular emphasis on individual rights. The areas of law, journalism, policy development, political science, and policy analysis are likely to be attractive areas in this new political environment.

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