“Getting to Green, Saving Nature : a bipartisan solution” by Frederic C. Rich

Rich is an important corporate lawyer in New York, involved in nature protection associations: Accordingly it is legitimate that he devotes his skills and his experience looking for a reconciliation between ‘Greens’ (overall on the left) and “conservatives” (often on the right).

This remarkable book retraces the steps of efforts for the protection of environmental resources in the United States since President Theodore Roosevelt early in the 20th century (conservative) then the ‘Earth Day’ of April 1970 (popular and green) and finally the growing divide between the two tendencies becoming ideological opposition leading today to what Rich calls “the great estrangement ” a fracture that paralyzes the implementation of an effective and realistic environmental policy.

Insofar as this is possible by encouraging Greens and Conservatives alike to work together in the field of common values to invent a “Green Center”, pragmatic and non-ideological, renouncing to certain orthodoxies.

To this end it offers “Ten commandments” making each the subject of a chapter:

O Be modest: tell the truth and admit uncertainty

O Be optimistic and offer a positive vision

O Compromise and (Incrementalism) are okay

O Accept the imperative of growth

O Accept capitalism

O Business is not the enemy

O Make the moral case for conservation

O Avoid mission creep

O Connect and mobilize

Though dealing only with the United States situation Fredéric Rich’s analysis and recommendations may guide the necessary reform of French environmental policy with the proviso that “Conservatives” are virtually absent from the “Right political parties “. which most often leave to the ‘left’, if not leftism, the monopoly of ideas and initiatives.(me tooism)

Indeed if most US green associations acknowledge the role of property rights and market and the cost of certain and/or useless environmental regulations, this is not the case in France where most Greens preach deep ecology.

However a careful reading of this book opens up new ideas and opportunities to deal with the European context which still firmly sticks to “Command and Control”.

By the way I noticed with pleasure Fred Rich’s many references to Edmund Burke such as “unbought graces of life,” little platoons,” …which has inspired Roger Scruton’s”Green Philosophy, how to think seriously about the Planet“(2012) the content of which I extensively reviewed in ‘ Propos écologiquement incorrects”Libre Echange volume 2, 2016

Not to speak of his presentation of the bipartisan action of the “Land Trust Alliancce”, a federation of some 1200 land and water trusts, a long term collaboration with ICREI


Max Falqu