It's the environment, stupid!

This morning’s leader in The Economist woke me up. Having been a dedicated Boy Scout, and even studying ecology (voluntarily) in High School, I sometimes imagine myself being a responsible environmentalist. It was tough for me when I was buying a new car last fall: should I buy a fast, sweet, practical and fossil-fuel consuming station wagon, or should I buy an ethanol-enabled, slow, not-so-good-looking Ford Focus? In the end I decided to choose the gasoline car – just this last time (promise!). I sincerely believe that I won’t buy another gasoline car in my life, ever.

Anyway: I wanted to discuss the next green revolution: Economic valuation of eco-systems and their preservation. It seems more and more likely that we will use market mechanisms to regulate global emissions and common resource exploitation, and that it really works. The idea is nothing new – I even remember trying to pass an internal party bill about “emission rights in emission bubbles” back in 1991 (yup – even I have been a young politician-wannabe). For an update on global initiatives in the area, read the latest Economist. Spice it up with the World Bank report: “How much is an eco-system worth?

I think that it is very sad that the Swedish Greens (Miljöpartiet) aren’t the ones I will vote for in next year’s general election. They have three serious problems:

1) They are really, really left-wing. Of the Swedish parties, only the “former” communists can challenge them on anti-capitalism. This means that we end up with two left-wing parties – with slightly different views on how to protect our environment.

2) The party agenda is nothing but wide. Visit their website, and it is quite hard to find their solutions and attitudes regarding environmental issues. It is easy, however, to find their thoughts about work life, living and people’s health.

3) They seem to think that saving the environment means sacrificing everything else. That is basically the same rhetoric as when they first got in to parliament, in 1988. In order for the greens (in Sweden and elsewhere) to have a significant impact, they need to present solutions that save the environment while helping the economy, not strangling it. That means global solutions. Miljöpartiet doesn’t even have a single information page in English, if someone non-Swedish would get the idea to contact/cooperate with them.

Maria Wetterstrand, official spokesperson for Miljöpartiet, got back from maternal leave this Monday. She is one of the most intelligent and analytically skilled persons in the Swedish Parliament today. In my dreams, she will transform the party by tackling those three problems. It would be good for the environment.

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