Interview: Charting a New Course
For America and the Environment
magazine once called him the “ultimate insider,” and indeed Gus Speth has had a long career as an establishment environmentalist. And so it might be surprising that his latest book, America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy
, offers a bleak picture of what U.S. environmentalism has
accomplished and calls for an overhaul of the nation’s political economy. In an interview with Yale Environment 360
editor Roger Cohn, Speth, who is now a professor at Vermont Law School, discusses the evolution of his own thinking on how to address environmental problems and his frustration with continued inaction on climate change. He also talks about the links he sees between economic fairness and environmental health; why he is encouraged by new movements and lifestyles emerging in local communities; and why he rejects what he calls America’s “growth fetish.” “The first thing about growth is it doesn’t deliver,” Speth says, “and it detracts us and deflects us from investing in the things that really do need to grow — like jobs, like education, like green energy technology.” Read the interview
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A Yale Environment 360
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The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video that chronicles the story of a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant, was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject).
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Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
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In a Yale Environment 360
video, photographer Pete McBride documents how increasing water demands have transformed the Colorado River, the lifeblood of the arid Southwest. Watch the video.