Issue:  Environmental Security, Health and Protection

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Strategic Initiative

Selling off our shared environment to the highest bidder is one of the radical Republican's greatest weaknesses.  Progressives can talk about each issue and make headway over time, or we can talk in terms of a strategic initiative to generate faster, broader changes. 

For example, point to the immediate need for environmental protection by talking about Poison Communities as a strategic initiative.  If people believe that the administration is poisoning the air, water and land that their children depend upon -- and they are  -- we guarantee that you'll get more than brief attention.  You'll make a larger ethical point and draw lasting attention to the environmental disaster we now face. That's the power of a strategic initiative.

If you're looking for a headline that shouts "Poison Communities!" try this one (links to real story):

"Unborn U.S. Babies Soaked in Chemicals"

It's a provocative headline that captures attention and truth.  Be bold. 

Read this article from Rockridge Institute about strategic initiatives, then put the term "Poison Communities" into the mainstream by "theme and repeat". 


"I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security.  Defense of our resources is just as important as defense abroad.  Otherwise what is there to defend?"

—Robert Redford, Yosemite National Park dedication, 1985



Spot the weakness —
The radical Republican shows its weakness by using "Orwellian language" which is opposite of what is true.  These are radical Republican lies, but they are also opportunities for us.  When you hear Orwellian language, George Lakoff says "attack" with truth. Remember to avoid using their language.  Reframe instead by framing and repeating our values, phrases and themes.


Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold (beautiful writing, one of the most influential works ever written about humans and the environment)

Silent Spring by Rachael Carson, the classic that brought us the environmental movement of the 70's.

Toxic Terror, review of "environmental justice" and the common practice of polluting the poorest communities in America

The Apollo Alliance

Crimes Against Nature by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Bush Versus the Environment

Q & A with Robert Kennedy, Jr. (3-part series)

The Greening of American Capitalism — How environmental values make good business sense

Social Investment Forum — Socially responsible investing outpaces the general investment market

Innovest — Ranks companies according to investment risk, but factors in environmental and social responsibility

Lesson plans from

Champions of the Land


DVD rentals

Winged Migration (stunning and beautiful)

Wild Thornberries (children)

Learning guides from Teach with Movies are available for the following...

Never Cry Wolf

Gorillas in the Mist


Ohio's Cuyahoga River, pollution fuels river fire, 1969

Our Shared Resources and Life-Giving Environment

Position statement:  Democrats are defenders of our shared American wealth: public ownership of our country's resources.  This includes defending against the pollution of our air, water, land and the abuse of our natural resources.  We believe it is patriotic to protect our environment for the benefit of future generations.  We believe in government setting ethical boundaries to keep a polluting corporation responsible for its actions.  We develop new, clean energy sources to keep our children safe and to add needed jobs to our economy.

By contrast, radical Republicans believe that all of our public wealth should be handed over to corporations so that an extreme profit-motive can be pursued without restriction.  The result is a shift of our commonly-owned American wealth to the privately-owned corporate sector.  Polluted, poisoned communities, depleted natural resources and a barren landscape are merely business by-products of the pursuit of maximum profits.

Make "frame sandwiches" using any of these values:



  • Health

  • Protection

  • Security

  • Wealth

  • Safety

  • Opportunity

  • Spirituality

  • Community

  • Patriotism

Repeat these ready-made frames:   "Put Kids First"; "Environmental Patriotism"; "Global Warming Crisis"; "Climate Crisis"
Use these themes:   Quality of life; Poison-free communities; Poison-free water/air/food; America is more than real estate, we are a community;  For our children's future; Save our children's heritage;  Protect our common wealth; Respect our gift from God; Renewable energy creates jobs; "Energy independence is Homeland Security"; "Life-giving Environment"; "Unborn U.S. Babies Soaked in Chemicals!"
Reframe using these concepts:  "Poison Communities" —(this is a powerful strategic initiative.  Start with one poison to illustrate, e.g. mercury.  Repeat and promote!); We can't drill our way to energy independence; "Hostile takeover of nature by Corporations"; privatizing our natural wealth; "Liquidation" of our shared wealth for a quick buck; "their short-term gain is our long-term loss"; extinction is forever; We own it, liquidators want to steal it; secret deals to steal our land, air and water; "It's about losing our children's heritage"; "Can't sell the farm piece by piece in order to pay for the groceries"; "Pro- Polluter, Anti-People";
Contrast using these words:  "Pollution President"; "Polluters First, People Last"; "Cruel Conservatism"; "Callous Conservatism"; "Republican Robber Barons"; pirates; looters; profiteers; liquidators
Avoid repeating these words:  "Healthy Skies" reframe to "Dirty Skies Initiative"; "Healthy Forests" reframe to "No Tree Left Standing" or "No Tree Left Behind";
Know the tools in the radical Republican tool chest: 

1.  The Environment (original Luntz framing memo); 

2.  Privatizing Clean Water
     (PDF.  Luntz memo revealing that corporate control of clean water is on the to-do list);

3.  The Orwellian Language of Big Government by the National Taxpayers Union;

4.  The Radical Republican Manifesto: The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement by Eric Heubeck;

5.  Frank Luntz Republican Playbook — Searchable Text-Version;

6. "14 Words Never to Use"


Quick facts* (statistics reflect Bush Administration pro-polluter environmental policy): 
  1. Superfund cleanups of toxic waste fell by 52 percent.
  2. Fish-consumption warnings for rivers doubled.
  3. Fish-consumption advisories for lakes increased 39 percent.
  4. The number of beach closings rose 26 percent.
  5. Civil citations issued to polluters fell 57 percent.
  6. Criminal pollution prosecutions dropped 17 percent.
  7. Asthma attacks increased by 6 percent.
  8. Based on tests of 10 samples of umbilical cord blood taken by the American Red Cross, the report by the Environmental Working Group cited an average of 287 contaminants in the cord blood, including mercury, fire retardants, pesticides and the Teflon chemical PFOA .
  9. Children who live in polluted communities are five times more likely to have clinically low lung function — less than 80 percent of the lung function expected for their age.
  10. Mercury has contaminated 10.2 million acres of lakes, estuaries, and wetlands and 415,000 miles of stream, rivers, and coastline.
  11. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned that one in 12 women of childbearing age carry levels of mercury in their bodies that are unsafe for a developing fetus
  12. A serving of farmed salmon has up to 40 times the PCB levels in other foods. PCBs cause cancer and were banned in the United States in 1976.
  13. EPA taking 75% fewer polluters to court, major polluter cases down 90%
  14. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will take 10 years to develop for 6 months of oil.
  15. Bush repealed the roadless rule that set 58.5 million acres of national forests off limits to industry.
  16. Bush administration has added the fewest new endangered species to the protection list of any president in the last 30 years.
  17. Bush opened 9 million new acres of pristine public land to logging (Tongass National Forest)
  18. One company, BP AMOCO, now lobbying to drill in ANWR, was responsible for 104 oil spills in Arctic waters between January 1997 and March 1998. That's 104 spills in a little over 1 year.
  19. Recall the devastating EXXON VALDEZ disaster of 1989, when nearly 11 MILLION gallons of oil spilled into Prince William Sound polluting over 1,000 miles of Alaskan shoreline and waters. 


National Resource Defense Council

Union of Concerned Scientists

DNC: The Bush Record, Industry Runs Roughshod Over Environment

NRDC: The Bush Record on the Environment

Bush Greenwatch

Truthout's e-environment page, bite-size overview of environmental news

EnviroLink, access to thousands of environmental resources and current research

NRDC:  How curbing global warming can increase jobs in America (PDF)

Environmental Working Group:  Farmed Salmon and PCB's

Alternet: Farmed Fish, an Ecological and Health Nightmare

"Poison Communities" strategic initiative research (begin with mercury, arsenic and air pollution):

Environmental News Network:  Unborn U.S. Babies Soaked in Chemicals

The Poisoning of Minimata

PBS:  The Mercury Story

Turtle Island Restoration Project:  Got Mercury? Mercury Calculator

Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine: Bush warns of mercury danger, ignores solution

Environmental Integrity Project: Polluters Breathe Easier - EPA Environmental Court Actions Decline

Environmental Integrity Project: Air Pollution "Episodes" Poison Communities in 29 States

News-Medical.Net: Growing up in polluted towns and cities increases risk of lung health issues and MedicineNet: Air Pollution Stunts Kids Lungs

Union of Concerned Scientists: Smog Chokes Much of California, Clearing the Air in the San Joaquin Valley




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