Green Party

The Green Party movement is rooted in sustainable environmental democracy, which derives historically from the early confederacy of five Native-American nations in New York state called the Iroquois Confederacy. The confederacy was matriarchal, cooperative, tribal, and regionally based. As Donella and Dennis Meadows note in their book Beyond the Limits (1993), the concepts of environmental stewardship and intergenerational sustainability originated in the confederacy. American revolutionaries Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin incorporated these Iroquoian concepts into their politics. In the last forty years, the democratic model has evolved into the bioregionalist or "green" model of integrative commons governance . This political approach is equally based on electoral consensus , environmental economics, and public welfare.

Green Party policy focuses on watershed patterns of resource use and control. Large-scale watersheds, or "bioregions," cross many jurisdictions, for example the Mississippi and Amazon Basins, the Arctic Circle, and war-torn regions. Ultimately, Green Party members, or "Greens," envision an integrated global commons congress, a "United Bioregions of Earth." Greens organize against environmental risks from nuclear power and rain-forest destruction to chemical-biological-nuclear warfare, and social risks from military oppression to the enslavement of women and children. Greens organize for human health as well as preservation of biological capital .

Primary Green movement source materials are all the nongovernmental organization (NGO) treaties finalized at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Green caucus of 30,000 people ratified many comprehensive agreements concerning diverse threats to sustainable society, and developed an entirely new language of public policy discourse. These treaties are of two categories: biological (deforestation, desertification, loss of biological diversity) and social (indigenous rights, militarism, and transnational corporations, or TNCs). The Green Party believes that the TNC global agenda targets all major environmental and community self-determination laws for elimination. These are contested as "nontariff trade barriers" under World Trade Organization (WTO) treaty obligations. Meanwhile, massive, internationally organized street protests against the WTO continued episodically.

Shortly after the 1992 Earth Summit, the number of countries with active Green Parties doubled from thirty-five to approximately seventy. The "European Green Parliament" is well established, and a Green/Social Democrat coalition governs Germany. Green infrastructure in the Americas is strongest in British Columbia. The United States lags far behind Europe: Only parliamentary political systems effectively admit Green proposals.

Operational principles, models, and priorities for the Greens in the United States were developed by Ralph Nader and his associates in the 1970s and 1980s. Nader cowrote the federal Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, and as the Green candidate in 1996, he opposed WTO supporters President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore in the 2000 presidential elections. Nader's work derives from a 1963 Senate subcommittee testimony given by Rachel Carson, who pointed out that, regarding watershed toxicity, communities had both the "right to know" and the "right to protection" by government, thus establishing the first conceptual bridge between environmental law and human rights law.



Ehrlich, Paul, and Ehrlich, Anne. (1992). Healing the Planet: Strategies for Resolving the Environmental Crisis. Boston: Addison-Wesley.

Johnson, Huey, and Brower, David. (1997). Green Plans: Greenprint for Sustainability. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Korten, David. (1995). When Corporations Rule the World. Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian Press.

Meadows, Donella, and Meadows, Dennis. (1993). Beyond the Limits: Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning a Sustainable Future. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green.

Ostrom, Elinor. (1991). Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Sen, Amartya. (2000). Development as Freedom. New York: Anchor Books.

Shiva, Vandana. (2002). Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution and Profit. Cambridge, MA: South End Press.

Steingraber, Sandra. (1997). Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer. Boston: Addison-Wesley.

Thomas, Janet. (2000). The Battle in Seattle: The Story Behind and Beyond the WTO Demonstrations. Golden, CO: Fulcrum.

Internet Resource

Green Parties World Wide Web site. Available from .

Kender Taylor

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