There's long been a fundamental problem with the green world — the
myriad companies, activists, evangelists, politicians, clergy, thought
leaders, and others who, each in their own way, have prodded us to
address our planet's environmental ills. And it explains why, after
four decades of the modern environmental movement, only a relative
handful of companies and citizens have joined in, while many more have
dragged their heels to slow, or even reverse, environmental progress.
The problem is this: No one has created a vision of what happens if we
get things right.
That seems odd, when you think about it. We have a crystal clear
picture of the consequences of getting things wrong (thank you very
much, Al Gore). We know well the potential devastation of unmitigated
environmental problems: the droughts, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis,
resource wars, famine, and pestilence. We know about epidemics of
childhood asthma in inner cities, toxic rivers in impoverished lands,
and depleted fisheries that may never fully recover. We see for
ourselves the rampant development in formerly verdant landscapes.
There are vivid pictures of denuded forests, strip-mined mountains,
and strip-malled farmland. We read about these things, hear Hollywood
stars fret over them, and may even experience them firsthand.