Turner-ConEcology_102019
Society & Culture

Can the Greens Change Their Colors?

Greens often make conservatives and populists see red—or Reds. In 2004, Australian politician John Anderson called his country’s Greens “watermelons…green on the outside, and very, very, very red on the inside.” His fruity metaphor has become something of a conservative cliché. It is easy to see why.

Green policies are frequently further to the left than those of Democrat, Labour, or Socialist parties, and their public representatives more egregiously egalitarian and politically correct. Populists in particular often view Greens as enemies of the nation, reject their warnings as hysteria, and take pleasure in baiting them as elitists. For example, President Trump’s sons pose with elephants they have shot, Nigel Farage consoles himself over Brexit delays by yanking terrified sharks out of their element, and Jair Bolsonaro has blamed (without evidence) environmental nonprofits for the wild fires presently devastating parts of the Amazon.

Such provocations elicit ill-tempered responses, and entrench mutual misunderstanding and dislike. This weakens the populist cause, alienating it unnecessarily from a cultural constituency concerned about the environment, a sentiment which is growing among young people. This is not to mention stymying vital, meaningful, cross-border, cross-party action to protect and restore the natural world we all share, and ought to prize. The environment is...

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