My New York Times Letter to the Editor

Dec 21, 2011 by  | Bio |  2 Comment »

Today’s New York Times contains a letter to the Editor I wrote in response to an article published in this weekend’s Sunday Review. See below for a copy of that letter, as it appears in today’s paper. You can also click here to view it on The New York Times website.

To the Editor:

Re “Environmentalists Get Down to Earth” (news analysis, Sunday Review, Dec. 18):

It would be hard to find “a tougher moment over the last 40 years to be a leader in the American environmental movement” only if your sole focus is the national debate. All the rest of us — at the local, state and regional levels — have known for years what the nationals are only now realizing: we’ve got to engage people closer to where they live.

That’s also where we’ll make positive changes on energy and other big issues. The article cites good examples: coal plants, fracking and clean water. Progress on those issues is not happening in Congress. In state and regional arenas, it is.

For those of us who have worked there these last 40 years, the time for our earthbound experience, savvy and skills has arrived. It’s actually a great time to be in the environmental movement. We’re pleased to welcome national organizations to the action.

Conservation Law Foundation
Boston, Dec. 18, 2011


2 Responses to “My New York Times Letter to the Editor”

  1. Deborah

    I don’t think it’s necessary to manufacture a perceived rivalry between national organizations and local/regional ones. Just like CLF, national groups work on localized issues too — they just have the capacity to work on them in regions across the country. I think we’d all agree that it’s tackling issues at the local level that can be replicated in other states — and often are — are what gives them national significance. The only way we’re going to make real progress is by having national, regional and local groups pooling their resources and working in coalition to come up with scalable solutions to these problems.

    • John Kassel

      Thanks for your comment, Deborah. You’re absolutely right that it’s time to pool resources and create scalable solutions. We don’t have time (or resources) to waste. To that end, I did not mean to provoke a sense of rivalry. There are nationals and there are regionals. All have roles to play. Sometimes one role is more called-for than another. In my view, now is one of those times when more forward progress will be made by those playing the regional/state/local role. And that role can be any org that wants to play it – nationals included. It’s simply where the action is.