If ecology-minded citizens want the Green Party to be recognized as a force in American politics, much more work needs to be done, according to an outspoken Kansas environmentalist.
"The Greens' purpose is to enlarge the discussion," said Wes Jackson, president of the Land Institute, an agriculture research group in Salina.
"We've got some important philosophical spadework to do," he said, speaking Sunday afternoon at a statewide meeting of the Kansas Green Party. "We can feel good and talk amongst ourselves and have self-righteous unctuousness, but we also have to stop feeling good about groups that don't go anywhere."
Jackson spoke about the need for an underlying philosophy, which he said was essential for the Green Party to have a real chance of making a difference in local, regional and national politics.
Culling from research and studies, he highlighted statistics showing the increased amount of pollution in Kansas water and air. He said Kansas ranks low throughout the country in efficient energy use and dead last in the use of renewable energies.
"Chemistry and history have never been taught together in school, but they've converged on the landscape," he told the group of about 60 people at the Ecumenical Christian Ministries building on the Kansas University campus.
"We need to think hard and work for answers, working to renew and recycle, not simply extract."