Draft GPUS Platform Amendment Ecological Sustainability Chapter Introduction

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The sad truth is that our planet is dying. Human-induced climate change is searing a major ecological crisis across the planet.

Glaciers and polar ice shelves are crumbling. Species are being eradicated at record numbers. The biology of our planet is growing simpler -- and poorer. Air pollution kills about two million people prematurely each year. Water supplies are drying up, while water systems are being sold off to big corporations concerned only with their profits. Our weather is growing more violent. Meanwhile, our nation keeps building new coal plants, even though they are the most destructive way to meet our energy needs. And the Obama administration and some Democrats are pushing dangerous new nuclear power plants.

Greens propose a decisive break from this madness. We must save our planet -- before it is too late.

Here is our Green vision:

To forestall disaster, we call for an immediate halt in greenhouse gas emissions increases, and reducing these emissions 95% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.

As a nation with less than 5% of the world’s population, we cannot continue to consume 25% of the world’s energy resources.

Greens support a decisive shift away from coal, oil, and nuclear power, towards clean and renewable energy such as wind, solar, ocean power, geothermal and small-scale hydropower.

We call for extensive energy conservation efforts, to reduce energy consumption by 50% in 20 years.

We call for a massive financial commitment to developing clean renewable energy technologies.

We call for major federal, state and local government purchases of solar cells on government buildings, to jumpstart the solar market.

Greens are opposed to nuclear power. The prospect of a radioactive catastrophe is ever-present, there is no safe way to dispose of the radioactive waste, and it is financially risky and more expensive than other types of energy production.

We call for early retirement of nuclear reactors in less than five years, no new nuclear plants, and an end to all corporate welfare for the nuclear industry.

We support a ban on new coal-fired power plants, and phasing out of electrical production by the burning of coal.

Much of the solution to climate change is at the local level. We support massive subsidies for expanding mass transit, as well as more bike lanes, bike paths and auto-free zones.

We support major changes in agriculture. We call for a dramatic expansion of organic farming. We want to shift price supports and subsidies away from animal agriculture to plant-based agriculture, small family farms and cooperatives. We also oppose the construction of all new factory farms.

We Greens want environmental justice. That means no new siting of toxic chemical or waste facilities in areas already contaminated.

We must stop polluting so much. Greens support a shift away from the use of toxic chemicals, and towards an industrial system based on clean production.

We want to protect our nation’s beautiful public lands. We call for an end to all commercial timber cutting and clear-cutting on federal and state public lands.

We must make the economy work to save our environment, by establishing true cost pricing for all goods and services.

We must stop trade agreements from crushing our environmental standards and accelerating the destruction of natural resources.

We encourage everyone to spend more time outdoors. When we cultivate our connections with nature, we strengthen our convictions and abilities to defend our skies, oceans, land, and biodiversity.


The human community is an element of the Earth community, not the other way around. All human endeavors are situated within the dynamics of the biosphere. If we wish to have sustainable institutions and enterprises, they must fit well with the processes of the Earth. The ideology of industrialism, in both capitalist and communist countries, insists that modern society lives on top of nature and should rightly use and despoil the rest of the natural world as we desire – because any loss of the ecosystems is merely an “externality” in economic thought and because any problems can be addressed later by a technological fix. We are now living through the painful consequences of that arrogant, ignorant perspective. Many of our children suffer from accumulations of mercury and other toxins in their neurological systems, environmentally related cancer is on the rise, and our air and water are increasingly polluted. Meanwhile, our ecosystems are being compromised by the spreading presence of genetically engineered organisms.

Our houses and buildings, manufacturing processes, and industrial agriculture were all designed with the assumption of an endless supply of cheap and readily available fossil fuels. Pollution and despoiling the land were not part of the thinking. The Green Party, however, is optimistic about the alternatives that now exist and that could be encouraged through tax policy and the market incentives of fuel efficiency. We also challenge the grip of the oil, automotive, and automobile insurance industries that have managed to block or roll back progress in public mass transit. The gutting of subsidies for the railroads has meant not only fewer passenger routes but also the addition of thousands of large freight trucks on our highways, decreasing public safety and increasing pollution. We are committed to extending the greening of waste management by encouraging the spread of such practices as reduce, return, reuse, and recycle. We strongly oppose the recent attempts to roll back the federal environmental protection laws that safeguard our air, water, and soil.

The health of the life-support systems – the ecosystems on our continent – is of paramount importance. Inherent in the efficient dynamics of those ecosystems is a vital profusion of biodiversity. Therefore, the Greens call for a halt to the destruction of habitats, which are being sacrificed to unqualified economic expansion. We humans have a moral responsibility to all of our relations, many of which are facing extinction because we carelessly and permanently halt their long evolutionary journey.

The Green Party also supports the spread of organic agriculture and the careful tending of our nation’s precious remaining topsoil. We support planetary efforts to slow the ever-increasing numbers of humans pressuring the ecosystems, and we especially support the reduction of consumption of the world’s raw materials by the industrialized Northern Hemisphere. We are appalled by our country’s withdrawal from serious efforts to limit greenhouse gases that are contributing mightily to global climate disruption. The Green Party strongly urges the United States to adopt an actively responsible position in this crisis and to take significant action to address the problem.