I wrote ta while back about the GEEP pledge that I signed. I was happy to do that as I want to support GEEP.
And yet, I have a reservation about the argument GEEP uses [*]. The pledge letter says:
"We recognize that environmental degradation—now accelerated by climate change—threatens the existence of most species on the planet and deprives people of the most basic and universal human rights of all: the right to live free of conflict and injustice, free of want; the right to grow and learn and to someday pass along to future generations a world better than the one they inherited."
Well, yes it does, but it is not the only thing that does this; our social and economic structures, preferences and decisions do so too – I am not making an ideological point here as all large-scale socio-economic systems we have tried so far have done this. Moreover, environmental degradation itself doesn't just spring unheralded out of the vacuum, but is caused by the social and economic structures, preferences and decisions that we have and make.
This is why sustainability, appropriately conceptualised, is a more helpful focus than environment. I try to make this point now whoever I can and it can be tricky. The key, I think, is to make common cause with people and groups that understand the integrated nature of our problems.
[*] GEEP is not alone here. For example, the Global Schools Programme is similarly coy about the origins of the problems we face. A pity.