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Green Party Roots, Values and Vision
The Green political movement has its roots in the 1970s when the New Zealand, British and West German Green parties formed. Once the German Greens were elected to parliament in 1983, Green parties began forming around the world. Canada was part of this movement. The Green Party of Canada, the Ontario Greens and the British Columbia Greens were all formed in 1983. The New Brunswick Green Party, with its founding meeting in November 2008, was the last provincial party to form. Today, there are about 85 Green parties in all regions of the world including South and Central America, Africa and Asia.
Green parties all share a common concern and common vision.
The rapid growth of industrial economies since World War 2 has resulted in unprecedented levels of pollution; soil erosion and loss of fertility; fresh water depletion and contamination; species extinctions; forest, wetland, and marine ecosystem loss; and human and animal exposures to toxic chemicals and radiation that interfere with basic cell functions.
Expanding production of “stuff” fueled by advertising has created a wasteful consumer culture that defines the good life by how much money one has and the stuff one owns. The result is a crisis of values and loss of the idea of the common good. People are considered consumers, not citizens.
Globalization has undercut community self-reliance and local producers and has created a huge gulf between rich and poor nations.
The use of force, including military force, to resolve conflicts or assert authority destroys lives, families, entire nations, and the environment. Technology now makes possible the destruction of all life on earth and we all live in the shadow of this nuclear reality.
All of these trends are fueled by coal, oil and natural gas, the burning of which is contributing to global warming. If left unchecked, this century will see a rapid decline in the life support systems of Earth, on which we and all other species depend.
Green parties represent a new politics rooted in new values.
We understand that human society is embedded in nature, not separate from it. The way economies, communities and cultures are organized must reflect and respect the limits of the finite Earth on which we are completely dependent.
We also understand that a healthy society is one in which everyone has the means not just to provide the basic necessities of life but also to fulfill their personal aspirations, and their need to be a valued member of a community and to contribute to the common good. As part of this commitment to people and community, we must learn to resolve conflicts peacefully.
Greens have a broader understanding of community than just its human dimension. Community also includes the land we live on and the other species that inhabit it. As we have obligations to our neighbours, so we also are obliged to act respectfully towards the land, the waters, and the other animals in our community.
These values underpin the Green vision of sustainability. It is a vision of self-reliant communities, a renewable energy system, thriving local food production and markets, clean air and safe water, diverse forests and oceans, livable cities, vibrant public spaces and services, and healthy, educated citizens fully engaged in the life of their communities, their province and their country. Above all, it is a human society that nurtures and restores the Earth and plans for the seventh generation.
To achieve this vision, we have to redesign our economy, our communities, and our politics. We have to recreate a culture which values people, other species and the Earth more than what we can buy. We have to shift from a consumer society to a conserver society.
The policies of the New Brunswick Green Party point in that direction. These are the first steps in a long journey upon which we must embark if we want a future for our children and grandchildren.