When you aren't succeeding with one approach sometimes you need to start again with a completely different tack. I've been thinking about this for a while and now I've finally come up with an answer.
I'm an environmentalist and at times I've been a radical environmentalist but I'm not sure what that means any more. Does being an environmentalist mean that I'm pro environment? Well who isn't? That's like saying I'm pro air or pro skin. The environment is just there and we're all awed by the majesty of mountains, the serenity of a sunset and the sheer abundance of life. We are all pro environment since we have to live in it and this goes for those the movement has labeled polluters and enemies of the environment like Dick Cheney, President Bush and the oil industry.
The problem is that environmentalists talk about saving the Earth and this, I realized, is my problem with the movement. The Earth simply doesn't need to be saved. That's like saying we need to save superman from bullets (of course Earth is real and superman isn't but you get my point).
The Earth doesn't care if the sea level rises. The Earth doesn't worry about drought in the western US and it certainly doesn't care if we drive more cars and trucks that only get 8 miles to the gallon. The Earth isn't concerned about the family farm, paving projects, suburban sprawl or hurricane season but we certainly are. We worry about these things and use the Earth as a reason why all this needs to change but Earth doesn't care.
I know the Earth doesn't care because I know that the environment is much stronger than any man-made object, city, state or country. We've all seen abandoned houses with trees growing through the roofs, vines growing over every surface and dirt where there was once a floor. On my walk to the train in the morning I pass a section of road with a significant amount of weeds growing through the pavement and this is the moment I realized who, or more accurately what, will win the battle of the environment.
The Earth will be here long after we're gone. If the environmentalists are right and we are ruining the planet, it is us who will suffer, the Earth will go on and probably thrive as we kill ourselves off. That's a fairly extreme statement but let's assume that the chicken little warnings of the environmental movement are right. Let's assume that we are doing irreparable damage and that if things continue sea levels will rise drowning the coastal regions, the drought will get much worse and people in Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico won't have enough to survive let alone drink. Imagine that the air is so polluted that asthma becomes a leading cause of death and lung cancer is as prevelent in general society as it is amoung smokers.
All of these worst case scenarios don't really affect the Earth but they sure do affect you and me. So stop talking about saving the Earth, stop sitting in trees as if that tree really cares if it gets cut down. Stop trying to save the environment and start saving yourself, ourselves.