Environmentalism: Now With More Empathy for Conservatives

Justin Thakar


We live in an age where stories of war, disease, hatred and celebrity wardrobe decisions spread at the speed of light. Some activists see waste and ignorance that needs to be toppled — others among us see an opportunity to widely disseminate a story that also speaks to people’s fears, indignance and boredom, but swiftly moves them to an inspiring new vision of what is possible for them to create here and now. It appears we have the raw materials for such a thing: The task of turning cynicism and apathy around has, in fact, a grounding in recent Ivy-League, Nobel Prize-winning psychological research. Tesla Motors' slick electric cars make headlines and high stock prices, with promises of bigger industrial feats to come. Better Block’s citizen activist- entrepreneurs, though without explicitly environmental aims, take over and renovate abandoned lots and storefronts with a joyful and reckless glee that's already gone viral. The idea that one could wrap these names, and the stories they represent, into a bigger and more powerful narrative — a story that reframes environmentalism as a sane, responsible, happy, energetic, and even profitable endeavor that inspires even the most apathetic to act — is less unthinkable. 

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/ppr.2014.45


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