Sunday, November 11, 2007

Mr. Green Jeans

Question? Can you guess which high-profile American politician recently said the following;

Hint: He/She is currently not currently serving in government.

"The environment is constantly changing, constantly evolving. But I think that you want to nurture the environment and protect the environment from undue damage largely for moral reasons. It's part of our quality of life, and part of our relationship to a larger world. We ourselves are diminished when the environment is diminished."

Well if your first thought was Al Gore, you'd be wrong.

Second Hint;
"I'm a Theodore Roosevelt Republican. I like the fact that the government requires that I have clean water to drink no matter what restaurant I walk into anywhere in America."

Answer: Newt Gingrich. These comments were taken from an interview at Salon. Gingrich has a new book out, "A Contract with the Earth."

Gingrich constantly finds his way into my research on Al Gore. In some ways they are opposite sides of the same coin. Whether its science and technology, the internet or the environment, these two have historically run parallel to one another.

The timing of this book leads me to believe that a substantial shift in US policy towards environmental issues in general and a "green economy" in particular are on the not so distant horizon. There is tremendous momentum behind the burgeoning green sector. If the Democrats win the presidency and maintain both the senate and congress (which looks extremely likely), then the Republicans will need a new platform for the future. Gingrich perhaps sees the writing on the wall. Any Democratic administration will most likely aggressively push for a "greening" of the US economy. Could "A Contract with the Earth" be the Republican blueprint for countering the likely Democratic environmental agenda?