Copenhagen has also seen the radicalisation of many environmentalists as the vested interests that require to be challenged in order to prevent further degradation of the planet have been brought to the fore. There is a rising grassroots movement that identifies the dividing line of the environmental question, as between those that want to put an end to the exploitation of nature to accumulate wealth, and those that want to continue “business as usual,” regardless of the effects it may have on the planet.
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up