Back to GP.org
III. ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY
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.
We advocate strong energy policies at all levels of government to shift decisively away from polluting energy systems towards reduced energy use and clean energy sources.
We oppose energy utility deregulation. We support strong protections for electricity and natural gas consumers. These protections can only occur in a locally-controlled, fully regulated energy system that directly links generation with transmission and distribution. We recognize that deregulation and its reliance on markets - as opposed to state-based regulations - is incapable of providing affordable, reliable and clean energy. We support state efforts to regain control over electricity by establishing democratic, public control systems to locally coordinate supply and demand and by eliminating energy trading. Consumers deserve full disclosure of the specific electric generating facilities used to produce their electricity. We support net-metering to make decentralized energy production economically viable.
Energy management must be governed by the principle of conservation, efficiency, and clean renewables. Of highest importance is to use less, then to use wisely, and to have clean production of what is used. We advocate strong public policies to widely deploy conservation, efficiency, and clean renewable energy technologies. Examples include tax credits, renewable portfolio standards, research programs, loans and grants. Existing policies that currently benefit nuclear power, combustion technologies or large hydroelectric dams should be eliminated and reallocated to conservation, efficiency, wind and solar power.
Conservation and Efficiency
- 1. Extensive conservation measures will bring huge resource savings for both the economy and the environment. Europe already consumes less than half of the electricity consumed per capita in the U.S. We call for extensive energy conservation efforts, with a goal of reducing energy consumption by 50% in 20 years.
- 2. We support efforts to decentralize regional electric grids by promoting energy efficiency and localized clean renewable energy. Tax-exempt bonds should be authorized to finance public ownership of utilities and to allow publicly owned utilities to finance conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy projects.
- 3. The U.S. is blessed with tremendous renewable energy potential, enough to meet the entire electric demand of the country. We call for a Manhattan Project-level of commitment to developing clean renewable energy technologies - technologies that do not create pollution in the course of generating electricity. These can include wind, solar, ocean power, geothermal, and small-scale hydro. Since even clean renewable energy can have negative environmental impacts, care must be taken to minimize such impacts. Clean renewable energy does not include nuclear power, any sort of combustion or process in which by-products are ultimately combusted, or hydroelectric dams that block entire rivers.
- 4. The Green Party calls for federal commitment to the mass-production of cheap, non-toxic solar photovoltaic technology to enable widespread deployment of solar power. To make solar more cost-competitive, we support large-scale government purchases of solar cells for installation on government facilities.
- 5. We support efforts of individuals and institutions to voluntarily purchase wind and solar power products through tradable renewable energy certificates. However, there are limits to the volunteer, market-based approach to promoting clean energy. Just as we cannot expect that individual purchases of organic food will cause all food production to become organic, we cannot expect that voluntary approaches will be sufficient to fully replace current energy supplies with clean energy, since only a tiny percentage of the energy supply can be affected by a volunteer purchasing approach.
Fuels for Transportation and Heating
- 6. Oil and gas are the primary fuels used for transportation and heating. U.S. dependence on oil and gas has driven an unparalleled assault on the global environment and on human rights in many nations. We call for major reductions in fuel consumption as we prepare for a fuel system based on clean hydrogen production and the use of fuel cells.
- 7. We support the use of hydrogen as an energy storage medium, which makes it possible to operate a decentralized grid on intermittent energy generation methods, such as solar and wind. Fuel cells (using hydrogen sourced from water and separated by electrolysis with power provided by clean, renewable energy technologies) should be used to efficiently distribute electricity as needed. We oppose the use of nuclear technologies or carbon-based feedstocks for hydrogen production.
- 8. We oppose the development of environmentally-destructive "alternative" fuels produced from unsustainable or toxic feedstocks, such as genetically-engineered crops, coal, or waste streams contaminated with persistent toxins.
- 9. With regard to heating fuels, we support building codes for new construction that incorporate the best available energy conservation designs. New construction should be required to achieve substantial portions of its heating energy from the sun. For existing homes and buildings, we support programs to aid in their weatherization and increased energy efficiency.
- 10. We oppose further oil and gas drilling or exploration on our nation's outer continental shelf, on our public lands, in the Rocky Mountains, and under the Great Lakes.
- 1. The Green Party recognizes that there is no such thing as nuclear waste "disposal." All six of the "low-level" nuclear waste dumps in the United States have leaked. There are no technological quick fixes that can effectively isolate nuclear waste from the biosphere for the duration of its hazardous life. Therefore, it is essential that generation of additional nuclear wastes be stopped.
- 2. The Green Party calls for the early retirement of nuclear power reactors as soon as possible (in no more than five years), and for a phase-out of other technologies that use or produce nuclear waste. These technologies include non-commercial nuclear reactors, reprocessing facilities, nuclear waste incinerators, food irradiators, and all commercial and military uses of depleted uranium.
- 3. Current methods of underground storage are a danger to present and future generations. Any nuclear waste management strategies must be above ground, continuously monitored, and they must minimize transportation of wastes.
- 4. The Green Party strongly opposes any shipment of high-level nuclear waste across the to the proposed Nevada waste repository at Yucca Mountain, or any other centralized facility. The Green Party believes that this proposal is part of a move to re-fire a fast-track, commercial nuclear industry by providing a means for "safe disposal." We deny there is such a thing as safe disposal of nuclear waste.
- We propose making spent reactor fuel and other high level wastes safer by vitrification at the site where it is produced or now stored.
- 5. We call for cancellation of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the nation's first weapons complex nuclear dump in southern New Mexico.
- 6. We call for independent, public-access radiation monitoring at all nuclear facilities.
- 7. We support applicable environmental impact statements and National Environmental Policy Act analysis with citizen participation at all nuclear sites.
- 8. We support an immediate and intensive campaign to educate the public about nuclear problems, including disposal, clean-up, and long-term dangers.
- 9. We oppose the export of nuclear technologies or their wastes to other nations.
- 10. We oppose public subsidies for nuclear power, including Price-Anderson insurance caps and stranded cost recovery bailouts.
- 11. We oppose the development and use of new nuclear reactors, plutonium (MOX) fuel, nuclear fuel reprocessing, nuclear fusion, uranium enrichment, and the manufacturing of new plutonium pits for a new generation of nuclear weapons.
- 12. We oppose the deregulation of radioactive materials and wastes, which is allowing such wastes to be recycled into consumer products and to enter municipal waste landfills and incinerators. We call for the strict regulation, tracking, monitoring, and recapturing of radioactive materials and wastes.
- 13. We call on the military to clean up depleted uranium contamination from testing ranges and battlefields, and to fully compensate exposed veterans and civilians who have been affected by depleted uranium exposure in the U.S. and elsewhere.
We need ecologically sound forms of transportation that minimize pollution and maximize energy efficiency. Surfaces impermeable to rainwater, polluted storm run-off; paved over or polluted wetlands, the heat island effect, air pollution, and acid rain are all directly related to a transportation system run amuck.
Massive subsidies to the auto and fossil fuel industries, as well as an unworkable approach by urban planners, maintain the auto's dominance of our cityscapes. The present-day approach of upgrading streets to accommodate increased traffic generates new traffic because access is now easier, and people will now take jobs further from their homes or purchase homes further from their jobs. Some people shift from public transit to private cars due to the trip time in cars being shorter. As patronage for public transit decreases, public transit loses funding, becomes less viable, and service deteriorates thus encouraging even more people to use their cars.
To counteract these trends and reduce auto use, the Green Party advocates the following strategies:
Pedestrians and Bicyclists
- 1. Make streets, neighborhoods and commercial districts more pedestrian friendly.
- 2. Increase the greenery of streets.
- 3. Utilize traffic-calming methods, where the design of streets promotes safe speeds and safe interaction with pedestrians. Create auto-free zones.
- 4. Develop extensive networks of bikeways, bicycle lanes and paths. Include bike racks on all public transit.
- 5. Maintain free community bicycle fleets, and provide necessary support for cyclists.
- 6. Redirect resources that currently go to enhancing auto capacity into expanding human-scale transit options.
- 7. Develop affordable mass transit systems that are more economical to use than private vehicles.
- 8. Encourage employer subsidies of transit commuter tickets for employees, funded by government Congestion Management grants.
- 9. Use existing auto infrastructure for transit expansion where possible. Light rail could be established in expressway medians through metropolitan high density corridors.
- 10. Include land use decisions in transportation issues, with consideration of the need for mass transit to have a market and be viable, and with attention paid to cross-commuting - the practice of people commuting to a place where they could and should live.
- 11. Expand our country's network of rail lines, including high speed regional passenger service.
- 12. Place a moratorium on highway widening then use the money for mass transit and facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists.
- 13. Mandate HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes on freeways, and lower toll fees for carpools.
- 14. Discourage unnecessary auto use by eliminating free parking in non-residential areas well served by mass transit, and establish preferential parking rates for HOV.
- 15. Substantially increase the taxes on gasoline, but allow some compensation for low income drivers.
- 16. Support ambitious increases in motor vehicle fuel efficiency, including the use of hybrid electric designs. Legislate a "gas guzzler" tax on new vehicles that get a lower MPG than the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards and offer "gas sipper" rebates for vehicles that get a higher MPG.
- 17. Schedule an increase in CAFE standards to 60 MPG for cars and 45 MPG for light trucks by the year 2010.
- 18. Develop and market to the general public fuel efficient cars as well as solar, electric and other non-fossil fuel powered vehicles for local travel. Support government procurement of high efficiency motor vehicles. Electric components of vehicles should not be put "on the grid" while we still have polluting electricity generation sources providing power to that grid.
- 19. Encourage carpooling programs, telecommuting, and other creative solutions to reduce commuter traffic congestion. We advocate fair buy-backs of the most polluting and least efficient vehicles to remove them from the road.
- 20. Make airports accessible by local transit systems.
- 21. Legislate further incremental reductions in airplane noise and air pollution.
- 22. Emphasize the use of light and heavy rail for freight transportation.
- 23. We call for incentives to get long-distance truck hauling off of our highways and on to railways. We favor the removal of any administrative impediments to efficient long-haul freight transport by rail. Time is lost when switching goods from one railroad to another, even when the trains are the same size and gauge, and this waste can be eliminated.
- 1. We support toxics-use reduction and green chemistry to reduce the amounts of toxic chemicals in production processes, and to replace them with less- or non-toxic alternatives. we call for the phasing out of toxic metals, persistent organic pollutants, persistent bio-accumulative toxins, synthetic petrochemicals, and all avoidable uses of halogenated chemicals.
- 2. We support clean production methods so that products are designed to be durable, repairable, reusable, recyclable, and energy-efficient, using non-toxic, sustainably-obtained materials, and nonpolluting production methods.
- 3. We support making manufacturers responsible for the full life cycle of their products by taking back used packaging and products for remanufacturing, reuse, or recycling. The electronics industry in particular must redesign its products to eliminate toxic components and enable clean recycling. We support the Principles of Extended Producer Responsibility (www.grrn.org/epr/epr_principles.html), as outlined by the EPR Working Group of the Grassroots Recycling Network. Policies to assist this transition include bans, recycled content standards, and economic incentives such as taxation, special fees, and deposits.
- 4. The precautionary principle should be applied when introducing a technology (chemicals, industrial facilities, products, etc.) raises the threat of harm to human health or the environment. In such cases, needs assessments and alternatives assessments must be conducted with full public participation. Affected communities must hold decision-making power over technology deployment.
- 5. The public has a right to know what toxic or potentially toxic chemicals are used and released in their communities, and in products that they might purchase or use.
- 6. Corporations should be held strictly liable for the consequences of the pollution they produce. We support the Citizens' Platform on Superfund, as adopted at the 1995 Communities At Risk Superfund Summit in Washington, DC (www.ccaej.org/projects/platform.htm). We call on the EPA to end the use of incineration as a cleanup technology, and to ensure that "cleanups" don't simply relocate the toxic mess to chemical waste dumps in poor communities of color.
- 7. We support the Principles of Environmental Justice as outlined by the 1991 National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit (www.ejnet.org/ej/platform.html).
- 8. We call for the shut-down of existing waste incinerators, a moratorium on new waste incinerators, and a phase-out of landfills. For all possible waste streams, we support the following strategies (in order of priority) as alternatives to incineration and landfills:
- Toxics use reduction
- Source reduction, reuse, clean recycling or composting / digestion
- Neutralization / sterilization / detoxification methods where applicable
- 9. No wastes containing toxic or radioactive contaminants should be deregulated, which allows them to be used in "beneficial use" schemes as fertilizer, co-products, or fuels; or by recycling them into consumer products or disposing them as municipal waste.
- 10. We oppose the exportation, under any circumstances, of chemicals that are prohibited in the United States. We oppose shipping of toxic, hazardous, or radioactive wastes across national borders, and the shipment of such wastes without strict regulation across any political borders. Waste should not be considered a tradable commodity under the Interstate Commerce Clause.
- 11. Nature uses and reuses everything through continual recycling. We should pattern our use of resources after nature in sustainable cycles. The Green Party would:
- Create a market for recycled goods through legal and tax incentives.
- Institute convenient curbside recycling (including yard clippings) in all urban areas.
- Manufacture recycled paper, labeled as such, out of a specific percentage of post-consumer waste paper.
- Rapidly phase out composites and other materials that cannot be recycled.
- Educate our children on the benefits of recycling.
- Simplify procedures that let people choose not to receive junk mail.
- Legislate deposits on glass, metal, and plastic beverage containers.
- Legislate limitations in packaging and impose penalties for wasteful packaging.
- Legislate in favor of recycling used tires, and against burning of tires (tire-derived fuels) in manufacturing.
- Remove obstacles to the sale of items in bulk, and standardize containers to make their reuse easier.
- Restructure garbage rates to encourage reduction in the volume of waste.
- Design and produce high quality goods that are durable, repairable and, then, recyclable at the end of their useful life; this concept is the opposite of the current planned obsolescence.
Earth's atmosphere is in great danger due to man-made chemicals and hydrocarbon emissions. Chloro-fluorocarbons, hydrochloro-fluorocarbons, and other related ozone-depleting substances should be banned as soon as is possible.
The Green Party urges the U.S. Congress to act immediately to address the critical global warming and climate change issues. When the U.S. Senate voted 95-to-0 to oppose any global warming treaty that does not also bind developing countries to specific, if smaller, carbon emissions reductions in the future, which many industrializing countries oppose, it put a roadblock in the way of progress by all nations.
With only 4% of the earth's people, the United States produces more than 20% of carbon emissions. From 1990 to 1996, total U.S. emissions grew by an amount equal to what Brazil and Indonesia produce every year. Per capita, the United States emits 85% more than Germany, twice as much as England and Japan, and currently nearly 10-times as much as China.
Climate change presents very real economic and social opportunities for new and sustainable jobs from new energy technologies, including both energy efficiency and renewables. Yet, too often, the focus of debate has been only on the pain of adjustment to carbon reductions, This is because of the influence of multinational business on government policies.
We must implement the following policies if we are to make a start on protecting our global climate:
- 1. An early target must be set to prevent emissions from rising so far that future reductions become even more difficult.
- 2. Avoiding loopholes is even more important now than an ambitious target. Unless a very ambitious target is set, which now seems unlikely, allowing sinks and trading within the protocol will create such loopholes that no real reductions will occur. Trading and sinks must be left until there is much more scientific precision in how they are measured.
- 3. Targets are not enough without credible policies and measures to achieve them. We urge all governments to table a list of the policies and measures they intend to adopt to attain their target, for example eco-taxes and energy performance standards.
- 4. Nuclear power is not an acceptable alternative to fossil energy. We should not accept country commitments that depend on increasing nuclear capability. We must join the solar age.
- 5. We endorse the Contraction and Convergence model under discussion at international talks (which as proposed would eventually give every human being an equal right to the atmosphere) as the most practical way to achieve justice and participation for developing countries.
- 6. As a nation, we must implement public and private initiatives at every level to support the Global Climate Treaty signed at the Earth Summit in 1992, committing industrial nations within a time framework to reducing emissions to 1990 levels.
- 7. The most authoritative assessment to date concludes that a worldwide carbon dioxide emissions reduction of 50-70 percent is necessary to contain climate change. The Kyoto Climate Protocol in 1998 falls far short, calling for only a five percent reduction. Nonetheless, the agreement is an important first step that all parties - especially the U.S. - should ratify as soon as possible.
- 8. We must drastically reduce, then eliminate, the use of fossil fuels. We must use energy more efficiently, and from clean, renewable sources. We must preserve the many valuable natural services including climactic stability provided by intact ecosystems. [See section E.2. Fair Taxation on page 62 in chapter IV]
- 9. If we fail to summon the political will now to make these investments, the costs of climatic disruptions will almost certainly force us to make them later at a greater expense. Greenhouse gases and the threat of global warming must be addressed by the international community in concert, through international treaties and conventions, with the industrial nations at the forefront of this vital effort.
We remember John Muir's and Edward Abbey's call to protect what is critical to our spirit. Experiencing the wilderness calls us to preserve pristine nature. Our advocacy is based on our love of nature and our recognition that it is beyond us.
Greens support restructuring institutions to conform to bioregional realities. Just as the planetary ecology consists of systems at various scales, so must our programs and institutions of ecological stewardship be scaled appropriately. The land, air, and water - the interconnected biosphere - is a unique and precious community deserving careful consideration and protection.
Guided by our sense of stewardship, all land use polices, plans, and practices should be based on sustainable development and production, the reduce-reuse-recycle ethic, and the encouragement of balance between optimum and diverse use of land.
1. Land Ownership and Property Rights
We encourage the social ownership and use of land at the community, local, and regional level. For example, community and conservation land trusts under covenants of ecological responsibility.
2. Urban Land Use
Well-considered urban land use strategies are essential to the well being and quality of life of all residents and visitors, and also are necessary for the ecological sustainability of the Earth.
Because the Earth is essentially a closed system, it cannot tolerate unrestrained growth without serious environmental consequences. The consequence of over-development has been and continues to be environmental destruction as areas exceed their natural carrying capacities.
By following the specific items set forth below, planners can design urban land use strategies that will help reduce each person's ecological footprint. This term refers to the amount of land the average person actually uses given overall consumption of housing, food, energy, etc. A smaller ecological footprint per person means less impact on our environment. We support coordinated urban land use patterns that help preserve agricultural and wilderness lands.
It is imperative that we as a nation find a means to control urban sprawl. The ecological, social, and fiscal crises engendered by sprawl are becoming evermore apparent. Greens enthusiastically endorse the Metropolitics movement, which seeks to control sprawl by integrating such measures as urban growth boundaries, tax base sharing, fair housing, and metropolitan transportation.
The Green Party proposes to:
- a. Support the use of green technologies that restore natural ecosystems while improving the quality of life for humans and furthering the co-existence of human populations with other species and natural systems.
- b. Support the use of the ecological footprint model to help communities assess the burden they place on their local, regional, and global environment, and to help them understand how they can improve their own communities.
- c. Encourage appropriately higher-density communities and urban infill development to prevent urban sprawl into agricultural and wilderness areas.
- d. Integrate an increased and sufficient number of affordable housing units into urbanized areas. These units should remain a part of the affordable housing stock for the life of the units. Also, protect current residents from displacement and encourage a wide variety of housing that will attract a wide variety of new residents.
- e. Support population densities in urbanized areas with appropriate infrastructure to facilitate public transit travel, shopping, recycling, renewable energy production, urban forestry, habitat restoration, public park renewal, and the re-development of brownfields.
- f. Support environmental justice policies that give communities a voice in planning future development with the goal of preventing concentration of polluting infrastructure in under-represented poor and/or minority communities.
- g. Plan open spaces, parklands, greenbelts, and public garden plots as components of all development plans.
- h. Locate schools, places of employment, medical facilities, and shopping areas within easy walking or bicycling distances from residences, or at mass transit stops.
- i. Include bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure in development plans. For example, inter-connected bike paths and pedestrian-only malls.
- j. Support efforts of cities and counties to re-develop, restore, and revitalize impacted local ecosystems.
- k. Support the long-term goal of re-establishing land use patterns and electoral districts consistent with a bioregional model of land use.
- l. Explore closed-loop sewage treatment systems and urban graywater systems wherever possible.
- m. Change tax and planning laws to promote decentralized, renewable energy infrastructures in urban and suburban areas.
- n. Change tax and planning laws to promote restoration and revitalization of degraded lands, improvements in watershed management, and protection/reintroduction of listed, threatened, or endangered species in suburban, rural, and agricultural areas.
- o. Educate citizens about reducing levels of consumption including over-consumption of living space.
- p. Rather than move populations back to the land, it is important to bring the land back to cities. This requires consolidating housing into such structures as ecolonies, to free open space, and to move about by bicycle, train, bus and on foot so that roadways may be converted to parkland and agriculture. This would replenish urban soils and reduce water waste by shifting from flush toilets to compost toilets. Also in other ways we should restructure cities to respect the capacities of nature and rely on the creativity of neighborhoods.
3. Natural Resource Management
Greens believe that effective land and resource management practices must be founded on stewardship, such as incorporated in a land ethic as articulated by Aldo Leopold. Stringent natural resource management should serve to prevent activities that adversely affect public and adjacent lands.
The Green Party calls for:
- a. Repeal of the Mining Act of 1872. We demand a halt to federal mineral, oil and gas, and resource giveaways, "royalty holidays," and flagrant concessions to the mining, energy and timber industries; and an immediate crackdown on their evasive and fraudulent reporting.
- b. Strict enforcement of clean-up of industrial-scale natural resource extraction activities. For example, cleaning up tailings, pits, and runoff from mining operations by agreements with companies that can include posting of site restoration bonds prior to commencement of operations. The regional long term environmental and social impacts of any resource extractions should be minimized, and the land restored to a healthy ecological state.
- c. halting all current international funding policies that promote destruction of forest ecosystems, and we call for an end to the trade in endangered hardwoods. We support laws that promote paper recycling and mandate sustainable forestry practices that promote biodiversity. We also call for the development of alternative sources of paper manufacturing, such as from hemp fiber.
- d. Protecting old growth forests, a zero-cut policy banning industrial timber harvest on federal and state lands, a ban on all clear-cutting, and a reduction of road building on public lands.
- e. Raising grazing fees on public land to approximate fair market value, and significant grazing reforms. We support policies that favor small-scale ranchers over corporate operations (which are often used as tax write-offs, a practice that undermines family ranches).
- f. Preserving and extending wildlife habitat and biological diversity by creating and preserving large continuous tracts of open space (complete ecosystems so as to permit healthy, self-managing wildlife populations to exist in a natural state). We oppose any selling of our National Parks, the commercial privatizing of public lands, and cutbacks or exploitation in our national wilderness areas.
- g. Public involvement in decision making by active and well funded Resource Management Districts and Councils. This will aid a long term process on the use of federal and state trust lands, which are currently controlled by the Bureau of Land Management, National Forest Service, National Park Service, and State Land Offices.
- h. Banning indiscriminate wildlife "damage control practices" and abolishing the Animal Damage Control agency that has been renamed Wildlife Services.
- i. Comprehensive baseline mapping of our nation's biodiversity resources.
- j. Watershed planning to mitigate the impacts of urban development on our streams, rivers, and lakes. Storm water management, soil erosion and sedimentation control, the establishment of vegetative buffers, and performance standards for development are appropriate measures in this area. Special attention must be given to the restoration and protection of riparian areas, which are critical habitats in healthy ecosystems.
We face a worldwide water crisis. According to the United Nations, more than one billion people lack access to safe drinking water. If current trends persist, by 2025 as much as two-thirds of the world's population will be living with a serious scarcity of water. Multinational corporations recognize these trends and are moving fast to monopolize water supplies around the world. They argue that privatizing water is the best way to allocate this valuable resource, and they are scheming to have water declared a human need so that it can be commodified and sold on the open market ensuring that the allocation of water will be based on principles of scarcity and profit maximization.
We do not agree. With water sold to the highest bidder, the rich will have plenty while the poor will be left with little but polluted water, and short term profits will preclude any concern for long term sustainability. We must stop this privatization before the infrastructures become so established that it will be impossible to avoid a disaster of epic proportions.
Governments are signing away their control over their domestic water supplies by participating in trade treaties such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and in institutions such as the World Trade Organization. The World Bank recently adopted a policy of water privatization and full-cost water pricing.
- 1. We need strong national and international laws promote conservation, reclaim polluted water systems, develop water-supply restrictions, ban toxic and pesticide dumping, control or ban corporate farming, and bring the rule of law to transnational corporations that pollute water systems. Mining and depleting the present underground aquifers must be severely restricted.
- 2. Greens oppose the privatization of water and demand that the U.S. government pass strong laws with effective enforcement mechanisms to assure a safe and adequate supply of water for its citizens and all life within its borders.
- 3. New forms of international, bioregional, and community organizations, watershed/ecosystem-based, must be created to monitor and equitably distribute the fresh water necessary for all life on our planet. Decisions about water must be based on an ecosystems approach.
- Cycles of intense drought and flooding have demonstrated the need to reorient our priorities in order to achieve a truly sustainable water policy. Over-development and poor planning have resulted in increasing rain-impermeable areas, which compounds the severity and frequency of flooding and pollution in regions downstream. We must begin to understand and apply a holistic watershed approach to managing our water resources. The principle of bioregionalism (living within the means of a region's natural resources) should give direction to future water policies.
- 4. Conservation must be an essential part of any water policy. Water conservation also reduces energy consumption and pollution.
- To conserve water, the Green Party proposes to:
- Mandate water efficient appliances and fixtures be used in all new construction, and promote retrofitting of older buildings.
- Promote native landscaping and other drought resistant/ climate-appropriate plants, in order to reduce the need for irrigation.
- Promote drip irrigation systems where irrigation is necessary.
- Eliminate storm water pollution of our water resources through education of our citizens, enforcement of our laws, and holistic watershed management. Promote storm water technologies that detain, treat, filtrate, and use storm waters near where it is collected.
- Promote the appropriate reuse of the "gray" and "black" waters we produce. Use separation techniques, such as dual piping systems where pure water is used for drinking and washing, and reclaimed water is used for lawn watering and similar purposes.
- Mandate pre-treatment of industrial wastes to eliminate the presence of metals, solvents, and other toxins in sewer water. This would reduce the cost of municipal treatment and encourage wastewater reuse.
- Promote passive and natural systems, such as wetlands, for water and wastewater treatment where appropriate.
- Eliminate water subsidies for corporate agribusiness. Higher water prices give agribusiness incentives to conserve.
- Assist community organizations to monitor the use of local resources, and to oversee the enforcement of water quality regulations.
- Preserve and restore the nation's natural water features (streams, rivers, lakes, bays, wetlands and groundwater aquifers) that are vital to achieving sustainable use of water resources.
- 5. Chemicals used in the fluoridation of America's public drinking water supplies are toxic waste by-products. The majority of these toxic wastes come from the phosphate fertilizer industry. Fluoride accumulates in the human body through ingestion and inhalation. A growing body of research suggests that fluoride may be associated with arthritis, hip fractures, bone cancer, kidney damage, infertility, and brain disorders. For these reasons, the Green Party opposes the fluoridation of drinking water.
Our current food system is dominated by centralized agribusiness and unsustainable practices that threaten our food security, degrade the environment, destroy communities, and squeeze out family farmers. Our so-called cheap food comes at the expense of the exploitation of our farmers along with the oppression of third world peoples, inhumane treatment of animals, pollution of air and water, and degradation of our land.
The agricultural system for the 21st Century must provide a high quality of life for farmers, nutritious and safe food for consumers, and reward farming methods that enhance the quality of water, soil, and air, and the beauty of the landscape.
- 1. We encourage legislation that assists new farmers and ranchers, that promotes widespread ownership to small and medium-sized farms and ranches, and that revitalizes and repopulates rural communities and promotes sustainable development and stewardship.
- 2. We support new farming and growing opportunities and urge the inclusion of non-traditional crops and foods in farm programs.
- 3. We advocate regionalizing our food system and decentralizing agriculture lands, production, and distribution. We encourage public support for producer and consumer cooperatives, community kitchens, Community Supported Agriculture, urban agriculture, and community farms and gardens.
- 4. We advocate the creation of a Food Policy Council composed of farmers, including small farmers and consumers, to oversee the USDA and all food policies at the local, state, and national level. This council should adjudicate conflicts of interest that arise when industries police themselves.
- 5. We support the highest organic standards (California Organic Certification Standards, for example). We advocate shifting price supports and government subsidies to organic food products so that they will be competitive with chemically-produced food. We believe that everyone, not just the wealthy, must be able to afford safe and healthy food.
- 6. We urge the banning of sewage sludge or hazardous wastes as fertilizer, and of irradiation and the use of genetic engineering in all food production.`
- 7. We would phase-out man-made pesticides and artificial fertilizers. We support Integrated Pest Management techniques as an alternative to chemical-based agriculture.
- 8. Food prices ought to reflect the true cost of food, including the health effects of eating processed foods, antibiotic resistance, pesticide effects on growers and consumers, soil erosion, water pollution, pesticide drift, and air pollution. Indirect costs (loss of rural communities, a heavily subsidized transportation system, cost of the military necessary to defend cheap oil, and reduced security), though more difficult to calculate, should be factored into the cost of our highly centralized food system.
- 9. World hunger can best be addressed by food security - being self-sufficient for basic needs. Overpopulation is largely a consequence - not simply a cause - of poverty and environmental destruction, and all remedial actions must address living standards and food security through sustainable production.
- 10. Because of the tremendous amount of energy used in agriculture, we support farm subsidies to encourage the transition from dirty fuels to clean renewable energy as one of the most effective ways to move our country to a sustainable future.
- 11. We support legislation that provides energy and fuel conservation through rotational grazing, cover-crop rotations, nitrogen-fixing systems, and fuel-free, clean renewable energy development on the farm.
- 12. We encourage states to promote net-metering to make decentralized energy production economically viable.
- 13. Animal farming must be practiced in ethically and environmentally sustainable ways. Rapidly phase out the use of confined animal feeding operations and factory farms.
- 14. Applying the Precautionary Principle to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), we support a moratorium until safety can be demonstrated by independent (non-corporate funded), long-term tests for food safety, genetic drift, resistance, soil health, effects on non-target organisms, and cumulative interactions.
- Most importantly, we support the growing international demand to eliminate patent rights for genetic material, lifeforms, gene-splicing techniques, and biochemicals derived from them. This position is defined by the Treaty to Share the Genetic Commons, which is available through the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (www.iatp.org). The implications of corporate takeover and the resulting monopolization of genetic intellectual property by the bioengineering industry are immense.
- 15. We support mandatory, full-disclosure food and fiber labeling. A consumer has the right to know the contents in their food and fiber, how they were produced, and where they come from. Labels should address the presence of GMOs, use of irradiation, pesticide application (in production, transport, storage, and retail), and the country of origin.
Ecological systems are diverse and interlocking, and nature's survival strategy can best be found in the adaptability that comes as a result of biological diversity. All policies concerning human settlement, food, energy, natural resources, water, coastal development, and industrialization should be formulated to prevent further disruption of the non-human ecosystems' ability to maintain themselves.
- 1. The Green Party supports a strengthened and enforceable Endangered Species Act.
- 2. The Convention on Biological Diversity, first adopted at the Earth Summit in 1992, is a primary statement of purpose regarding how we can act to preserve and sustain our common genetic resources. We protest the demands of the U.S. to amend this unprecedented international agreement on behalf of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, with their insistence on protection of their intellectual property and technology transfer rights.
- 3. We encourage, and support public access to, seed banks and seed collections that emphasize traditional and heirloom seeds.
- 4. We call for wide-spread education on the critical importance of efforts being made to replant indigenous plant life where it has dwindled or been lost.
- 5. We oppose monopolistic production of high-tech hybrid seeds. This is the basis of monoculture where agribusiness relies on non-sustainable methods such as single crop varieties bred with industrial traits and grown with high input of energy, chemicals, and pesticides. This has led to a massive loss of biodiversity, displacing traditional varieties and seed stocks.
- 6. We encourage the use of diverse natural seed varieties passed down over many generations. Crops can be grown with he best plants' seeds being saved season to season.
- 7. We oppose international trade agreements (NAFTA, GATT and the WTO in particular) that have precedent-setting provisions protecting transnational, corporate control of the intellectual property of genetic material, hybrid seeds, and proprietary products.
- 8. We support reintroducing native species to areas from which they have been eradicated, eliminating predator control on public lands, and reintroducing native predators where they would contribute to a viable ecosystem.
- 9. We should educate ourselves about animal behaviors to overcome our culture's irrational fear of wildlife, and learn techniques of co-existence with other species.
- 10. Since the efforts to clone animals - and eventually humans - has been undertaken by profit-making corporations, the purpose behind such projects is to manufacture commodities. To classify a human (or any part thereof, including human DNA and body organs) as a commodity is to turn human beings into property.
We reject the belief that our species is the center of creation, and that other life forms exist only for our use and enjoyment. Our species does not have the right to exploit and inflict violence on other creatures simply because we have the desire and power to do so. Our ethic upholds not only the value of biological diversity and the integrity and continuity of species, but also the value of individual lives and the interest of individual animals.
The Green Party advocates humane treatment of animals with the following policies:
- 1. Redirect the funds that are disbursed annually by the National Institutes of Health away from animal experiments and more towards direct health care, preventive medicine, and biomedical research using non-animal procedures such as clinical, epidemiological, and cell culture research.
- 2. Phase-out the use of animals for consumer product testing, tobacco and alcohol testing, psychological testing, classroom demonstrations and dissections, weapons development and other military programs.
- 3. Mandate clear labeling of products to tell whether or not they have been tested on animals and if they contain any animal products or by-products.
- 4. Establish procedures to develop greater public scrutiny of all animal research. These should include the welfare of laboratory animals, and a halt to wasteful public funding of unnecessary research such as duplicative experiments.
- 5. End the abuse of animals, including farm animals, and strengthen our enforcement of existing laws.
- 6. Ban the use of goods produced from exotic or endangered animals.
- 7. Prohibit large scale commercial breeding facilities, such as "puppy mills," because of the massive suffering, overpopulation, and ill health such facilities produce.
- 8. Subsidize spay and neuter clinics to combat the ever-worsening pet overpopulation problem that results in the killing of millions of animals every year. Where unwanted companion animals are being killed in shelters, we advocate mandatory spay and neuter laws.
- 9. Ban the exploitation of animals in violent entertainment and sports.
The governments of many countries are selling off their rain forest land to cattle growers for the production of cheap beef, most of which is exported to first-world countries such as the U.S. Unsuitable rain forest land is also given to subsistence farmers who ruin the soil in a few seasons. In the meantime, landowners hoard prime agricultural land for speculation. On both state and federal lands, trees are harvested and the raw logs are exported, causing jobs to be exported.
The Green Party calls for actions to protect our forests:
- 1. Overhaul state and U.S. Forest Service rules to protect our forests and use them wisely.
- 2. Review, reform and restructure all federal and state land-use policies so that our practices become environmentally sustainable, and so that forests provide a continuing supply of high quality wood products.
- 3. Stop building logging roads in national forests at taxpayers' expense. These roads not only cost more than the revenue from timber sales that they expedite, but they also contribute to soil erosion and silting of streams, which ruin fish habitats.
- 4. Ban the harvest of Ancient Forests.
- 5. Ban the export of raw logs and other minimally processed forest products (pulp, chips, carts, slabs, etc.), which causes American job loss.
- 6. Offer subsidies to local watershed-based mills. This will maximize employment opportunities through value-added processing, and promote sustainability and worker control.
- 7. Use work projects, goats, and other sustainable methods to control undergrowth rather than spraying herbicides, especially near communities.
- 8. Grow and use hemp as a plentiful and renewable resource for the manufacture of paper and other forest products.
- 9. Protect significant archaeological, historical and cultural sites.
- 10. Support the rights of people indigenous to the rain forest, and their ecologically sound use of the forest - such as rubber extraction, nut gathering, and collecting medicinal herbs. End the importation of rain forest beef.
- 11. Forgive the debts of Third World countries that need help in halting the destruction of their rain forest lands.
- 12. Develop labels that identify ecologically sound forest products. This would help consumers to support ecologically sound forestry.
- 13. Protect of wildlife habitats, fisheries, biodiversity, scenery, and recreation. We must accept responsibility for the affect local actions have on the global economy and ecology.
Ocean vessels contaminate the sea through leaks large and small, and by dumping their refuse with impunity. Whole oceans are threatened with radioactive contamination by ships transporting weapons-grade plutonium, and by oceanic testing of nuclear weapons. The oceans are further contaminated by heavily polluted streams and rivers, and by undersea toxic dump sites with secret contents.
We favor accelerating research on the nature of the oceans that cover most of our planet. It is essential that we learn as much as possible about the effects of global warming, destruction of coral reefs, and depletion of fish populations upon the oceans.
The Green Party supports the following ocean protection measures:
- 1. Urge the U.S. government to sign the Laws of the Sea Treaty that establishes the global sharing of ocean resources.
- 2. Support the National Oceans Protection Act which bans offshore drilling to a distance of 50 to 175 miles from U.S. shores.
- 3. Establish environmental standards for ocean-going vessels.
- 4. Ban ocean transportation of nuclear and toxic wastes.
- 5. Map undersea toxic dump sites and, where possible, recover and treat the toxic wastes.
- 6. Ban drift-net fishing and long-line fishing, practices that indiscriminately kills marine mammals and other species not intended for the catch. Ban importing of fish and fish products from countries that use drift-nets.
- 7. Legislate phasing out U.S. factory trawlers while promoting sustainable, community-based fishing.
- 8. Ban importation of coral products and the destruction of breakwaters that are necessary to protect dying reefs.
- 9. Maintain the ban on international whale trade, which was debated at the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species.