May 22, 2009 Features & Images » Feature Story

The Green Rift 

Has the Environmental Movement Been Torn Apart?

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As for Protter, he thinks that many within the environmental movement ought to take science more seriously. He rejects a dogmatic approach to IPPs as he's observed within Sea to Sky and elsewhere.

"Most developers I know are responsible," he says. "They're socially-responsible and they want to do the right things. They may not know exactly how to do the right things and there's people like me who know a few things about how to do it right."

The aftermath

The electoral dust has settled over British Columbia. Election signs have been cleaned off sidewalks and streets, save for a few stragglers that remain. The B.C. Liberals and their environmental policies have been re-elected with the same level of confidence as they were in 2005.

The NDP remains a sizable opposition but its environmental positions undoubtedly lost them a few "green" voters aside from the ones who went public.

What happens next for the environmental movement? Andrew Weaver thinks efforts towards transforming the energy sector and implementing the carbon tax ought to be supported - both things the NDP opposed.

"The NDP are just, 'let's start all over again,'" he says. "The climate system doesn't have time to do that, thank you very much."

Others associated with the environmental movement have had their ideas internalized by the government. Tzeporah Berman and Patrick Moore now champion the government's efforts, as does David Suzuki - but none of them blindly.

Where the split remains, it seems, is in how to approach climate change. There remain unresolved questions as to whether the carbon tax is punitive enough and to what degree the private sector should have a role in developing green energy.

Come what may, there can be no doubt that British Columbians have walked out of the dust into a brand new green world in their province. Who is right remains to be seen.

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