It's not every day that I agree with the NYTimes' John Tierney. But today, I do. He offers up seven rules for a new breed of environmentalist: the "Turq."

"No, that’s not a misspelling. The word is derived from Turquoise, which is Stewart Brand’s term for a new breed of environmentalist combining traditional green with a shade of blue, as in blue-sky open-minded thinking. A Turq, he hopes, will be an environmentalist guided by science, not nostalgia or technophobia."

Check out the rules. Are you a Turq? Does any of Tierney's advice surprise you?

Earth Day
Earth DayCourtesy Cornelia Kopp

Jon Foley, of the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment, has similar advice. "There are no silver bullets," he says. "But there is silver buckshot."

Human activities, rather than nature, are now the driving force of change on the planet. And experts say that there will be nine billion of us on the planet by 2050. Making sure that we all have the chance to survive and thrive will require a lot of innovation, and a lot of blue-sky thinking. Who's up for the challenge?

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

KelsiDayle's picture
KelsiDayle says:

Yeah, some of Tierney's rules did surprise me. He makes some great points, but they are also missing some important counter arguments. In Tierney's defense, he picked some pretty hefty environmental debates to get into in his 7 New Rules and to do them justice would take more than the word count of a single article can handle.

Similarly, my explaining all of the counter arguments would exceed this comment space, so I leave you with the following 2 points that I think are most interesting:

1) 9 billion and counting. Not once does Tierney mention the exploding human population, and the need to reduce the rate at which we're biggering the human race. Seriously, less people would really help our resource consumption metrics out. Not only that, but our consumer societies in the developed world would be wise to rethink social norms of affluence.

2) Biodiversity loss: the ugly side of GMOs. Genetically modified foods show great promise for feeding the world because they can grow in conditions not possible for un-GM'd species (i.e. under crowding, with little water). However, these very characteristics of GMOs make them a formidable competitor for un-GM'd species and threaten to decimate other populations. Efforts to contain GM varieties to certain fields has been difficult becuase nature is messy. (Monsanto has had several lawsuits to this affect. Through in patent laws and you've got a strong case against GMOs.)

Just sayin'...

posted on Fri, 04/23/2010 - 4:05pm
Shana's picture
Shana says:

I also have to wonder--sure, maybe organic/free-range meats take more land to produce, but it's because the animals can run around. How do we balance an ethical responsibility to the animals we eat with the needs of our earth?

posted on Wed, 06/23/2010 - 1:15pm

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