The Climate Hawks are Circling!

Photo By: Parksy1964

There’s a new bird of prey in town.

Finally, there’s some climate related news to get excited about. Grist’s David Roberts, delivered a couple of posts this week which asked, and attempted to answer, the question, “What should we call people who care about climate change and clean energy?”  The first post, published on Oct. 18, struck a nerve receiving over 200 responses in just a few days.  Roberts sifted through his reader’s responses and followed up two days later with, “Introducing ‘climate hawks.” This post delivered a rallying point for those who are fed up with the current direction of environmental policy.  Along with presenting the new nomenclature, Roberts explained the rough guidelines which he used in making the choice:

  • First, the term needs to be broad but shallow.  That is, it needs to be broad enough to encompass everyone worried about these issues, but at the same time shallow enough that it doesn’t imply a bunch of other positions or commitments.
  • Second, I’d just as soon avoid a term that has elite condescension built right in.  You may have noticed that elite condescension is one thing lots of folks dislike about the left!
  • Third, if the term’s going to catch on, it has to sound natural, something an Average Jane could say in conversation and be understood without a bunch of additional explanation.
  • Fourth — and I didn’t get this until I read through the thread — I’d really like to avoid any “ist” or “ism.” An -ism is a tribe; an -ist is an identity. Those are substantial commitments.

Roberts’ second post in this series quickly gained momentum being reprinted both on the Huffington Post and Mother Jones.  Commentary, such as this article, started popping up all over the web.  (Several links are provided at the end of this post.)  It appears that there’s a strong need to step out of the shadow of the effete demeanor typically associated with progressives.  Those identifying with the movement appear to have the countenance necessary for the brewing battle over climate change.   I expect leaders (Roberts?) to step forward, giving voice and direction to the movement.  Through them the latent groundswell will become a formidable force.  As we wait for this to happen, self-selecting Climate Hawks will wait, watch, and sharpen their talons.

Additional Reading: Beware the Fierce Climate Hawk! “Climate hawks

PLoS Blogs: Climate Hawks Take Wing

PLoS Blogs: Climate Hawks: Not All Birds Flock Together

Time: Climate: Why Bipartisanship on Energy Won’t Be Easy—and Why It’s Necessary

5 thoughts on “The Climate Hawks are Circling!

  1. The only issue I see with the term is the militaristic associations. Being serious about climate change is critical, but military-style solutions don’t hold much promise. We need international cooperation, not suspicion and a focus on the individual security of states.

    • Milan,
      I see this as a bit of a double-edged sword. On one side you get to scream in chorus, “We’re mad as hell and we’re not gonna take it anymore,” but on the other side, you realize you’ve just left your neck exposed and invited attack. Hopefully, thought leaders will guide this movement in a direction of thoughtful, restrained action and not towards something ugly. I don’t believe there was any intention of the latter, but I do believe the association is fair.
      Thanks for the thoughtful response,

  2. Pingback: My first and last ?climate hawk? follow-up « Political News Online

  3. Pingback: David Roberts – My first and last ‘climate hawk’ follow-up « Kickingcrow's Weblog

  4. Pingback: Green Business Blog Carnival #21 at sustainablog | Sustainablog

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