Skip to content

Democrats, Pay Attention To The ‘Ecomodernist’ Running For Governor in California

Julie Kelly, The Federalist


In his latest book, “Enlightenment Now,” Steven Pinker credits ecomodernists — a new breed of environmentalists — for their forward-thinking approach to challenges such as climate change, energy, and land use. Pinker praises Michael Shellenberger, a founder of the ecomodernism movement, for defying old-guard greens who reject modernity and fantasize about a future without carbon dioxide emissions and “small co-ops in the Amazon forest where peasant farmers and Indians would pick nuts and berries to sell to Ben and Jerry’s for their ‘Rainforest Crunch’ flavor.”


Pinker now has joined other scientists and Nobel-Prize winners to ask California media outlets to allow Shellenberger, a long shot candidate for governor in that state, to participate in upcoming debates: “By including Michael into the debates, you would allow a broader set of ideas to be discussed that have not been discussed to date, such as changes to the school calendar to allow more instruction time; the use of nuclear energy to mitigate climate change; and new approaches to the state’s housing and homelessness crisis.”

In a national political climate ruled by tribalism, Shellenberger, 46, has no tribe. After years of environmental activism, he reversed his opposition to nuclear energy, making him a foe to one-time allies. His new nonprofit, Environmental Progress, bucks the dogma of stale green groups such as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club and he fights to keep open nuclear plants here and abroad. A longtime resident of Berkeley, the birthplace of the local, sustainable food crusade, Shellenberger supports genetically engineered crops and questions how organic agriculture can feed a growing world population.

In 2004, Shellenberger declared that the traditional environmental movement was dead, blasting its insularity, myopia and elitism. “We have become convinced that modern environmentalism, with all of its unexamined assumptions, outdated concepts and exhausted strategies, must die so that something new can live,” he said.

Full post