John M. Meyer is an associate professor of government and politics at Humboldt State University. He is the author of Political Nature: Environmentalism and the Interpretation of Western Thought and is currently working on a book about the role of environmentalism as social criticism.
A year ago, two committed activists with serious credentials in the environmental movement released a report proclaiming “the death of environmentalism.” In so doing, they sparked a debate that continues to this day. While some have suggested that both the authors and their accusations emerged from nowhere, they in fact put a spotlight on some recurrent, yet seldom influential, criticisms leveled by minority voices within the movement. If these criticisms are correct (and in large measure I think that they are),the environmental movement, and the progressive left of which it is a part, will need to be remade in ways that go beyond a mere tinkering with policies, personnel, or priorities.