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Media Advisory

Is the environmental movement dead? UC Berkeley scientists debate authors' claim Feb. 16

14 February 2005

ATTENTION: Science, Environment Editors

Contact: Robert Sanders, Media Relations
(510) 643-6998

A panel discussion involving University of California, Berkeley, environmental scientists and the authors of a recent and controversial essay called "The Death of Environmentalism."

4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16

Mulford Hall, Room 159, UC Berkeley

Michael Shellenberger, executive director of The Breakthrough Institute, and Ted Nordhaus, authors of "The Death of Environmentalism," published online last fall
John Harte, UC Berkeley professor of energy and resources and of environmental science, policy and management
Richard Norgaard, UC Berkeley professor of energy and resources and of agricultural and resource economics
Michel Gelobter, Ph.D., executive director of Redefining Progress, an Oakland-based activist environmental organization

Last October, Shallenberger and Nordhaus released a lengthy essay, "The Death of Environmentalism: Global Warming Politics in a Post-Environmental World," arguing that the environmental movement is dead and that new and bolder tactics are needed to turn around U.S. policy on global warming. In taking to task the leaders of the environmental movement in this country, even blaming them in part for George W. Bush's re-election victory in November, the authors ignited a storm of protest by environmental organizations and a stinging rebuttal by the Sierra Club.

The panel discussion at UC Berkeley will be the first debate between the essay's authors and environmental scientists - people on the frontline of research that shows the dangers of global warming. Harte conducts experiments to determine the effects of global warming on the ecosystem, in particular sagebrush and high-altitude meadows. Norgaard, an ecological economist, takes a social science approach to environmental issues, and sees development as a process of co-evolution between social and environmental systems.

Shellenberger, a political strategist, founded the Breakthrough Institute to advance "bold solutions grounded in America's progressive values." Nordhaus, a UC Berkeley graduate, is a political pollster and vice president of Evans/McDonough, a leading opinion research firm. Both authors, who have had years of experience working with environmental organizations, credit UC Berkeley linguistics professor George Lakoff for helping them reframe the social and political issues around environmental problems.