Let me begin by saying that I agree with what both Darby and David have said. As one of the few people on this list who worked in the Clinton-Gore Administration (and before that on the Hill), I know that it is critical that the environmental community push issues as hard as they can.
From a recycling standpoint, one of the best things that happened during the C-G Admin was Executive Order 12873 (followed by EO 13101). Both the paper industry and the environmental community fought hard, prior to the signing of the EO, to get what they wanted. (The paper industry wanted to 1) change the definition of post-consumer and 2) keep the EPA Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines at 10% - while the environmental community wanted a higher level of post-consumer and chlorine free paper) If it wasn't for that fight in 1993, we wouldn't have 30% post-consumer content paper being used by 98% of the government today! (And for those of you who don't know, that decision was made by Vice President Gore) My job, as the Federal Environmental Executive, was to implement that Order across all the Federal Agencies...with no budget and no enforcement authority. Unfortunately, after the EO was signed the environmental community faded into the background and took up other fights. With some very notable exceptions (The Government Purchasing Project, Env. Defense and NRDC, and Conserveatree and Earth Island Institute for awhile), we had no one who continued to push us to push the envelope. I think, for example, that we could have gotten a mandate for PCF paper when we were drafting EO 13101, had anyone been out there lobbying for it.,..but it was hard to make the case for it when no body in the White House nor on Capitol Hill had heard from anyone on this issue for five years!
Luckily, there were enough people I could call on when we needed help desperately.
And we did need help - Unless you are there you cannot imagine the forces within the government fighting among themselves. I'll give you an example. A well known environmentalist - highly placed within the Administration, with expertise in the field of energy and climate change, fought within the Administration, for a definition of 'biobased products' (in a proposed Executive Order), that would include municipal solid waste. Had this person been successful, we would today be giving biobased tax credits to burn recyclables as MSW. In that fight I found it necessary to line up supporters and would have (if necessary) brought them to the White House to explain the dangers of that position. It wasn't necessary and that EO was signed without that definition.
The point I am trying to make here is that, in that fight, climate change was pitted against recycling and, believe me, it was a hard fight to win. I think everyone knows that there aren't always easy answers.
I think what is necessary is for the environmental community to take a hard stand on these issues and push and push and continue to push. And then, whether you win or lose, you don't walk away from it...because these battles are never over because those on the other side never give up! (When I first went to work in Congress in the early 1980's, I worked hard to get funding in EPA's budget for dredging PCB's out of the Hudson River. I recently saw that GE was still lobbying to have the decision to dredge overturned - 20 years later).
So, would you call me a sell-out because I worked for the American government? I don't think I was. I think I've fought hard for years to get things accomplished -=- and we have. So, let's keep the discussion tight and focused on the important issues -- and keep the name calling to a minimum.
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2002 11:51:42 -0800
From: "Darby Hoover" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: [GreenYes] sounding off
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Bravo. These are the first comments I've seen on this issue I =
wholeheartedly agree with.
Darby Hoover email@example.com
Executive Director www.papercoalition.org
Recycled Paper Coalition
----- Original Message -----=20
From: David Wollner=20
Sent: Friday, January 18, 2002 10:23 AM
Subject: [GreenYes] sounding off
The issues that concern this listserv are political and it has taken =
diligence and hard work to make them so. 30 years ago, nobody was =
concerned with reducing waste or recycling. Today everybody tells you =
they're an environmentalist. This is because brave people stood up, took =
a chance, and said that the accepted ways of doing things were not =
right. Other, smarter people, came along with practical solutions based =
on that assumption. Things are changing but we are no where near the =
finish line. When politicians ignore this or push policies that are =
antithetical to our concerns, it is our right, if not our =
responsibility, to create an uproar. I think political awareness is =
equal to corporate awareness. The public needs to make politicians =
responsive to our will and keep them honest. A grassroots movement =
depends on this kind of pressure. It would be a grave mistake if we but =
fiddled while Rome burned.
When the Bush administration (or Clinton, or Bush pere, or Reagan, etc =
ad infinatum) ignores our concerns I think it needs to be broadcast. =
Making a loud noise is one of the best ways to impress a politician that =
we have the clout to upset his/her hold over us. This was shown =
yesterday when the stink raised by environmentalist organizations forced =
the administration to back down on its proposed relaxation of air =
quality standards. I realize that our greatest gains come when there is =
sound economics behind them - that is inescapable in today's world - but =
change also needs an ideological compass and a few uncompromising pilots =
at the helm.
That expressed, I don't like name calling either. I think it cheapens =
the argument no matter how dead-on the observation.
Sr. VP & Chief Environmental Strategist
(202) 550-2674 (mobile)