America’s inferiority complex / Thank the Germans

Subtitle: Environmental perspectives, Part II
Here are some more new ideas for me from this book I’m reading on environmental history by an Indian author. See this previous post for my first set of reflections.

  1. National parks are America’s way of dealing with its inferiority complex in the face of Europe’s cultural heritage. The first national park was Yellowstone, founded in 1872. One could say that national parks demonstrated rising ‘cultural nationalism’. The agelessness of the wilderness was America’s substitute for traditions in art, architecture and peasant traditions since they pretty much decimated all the Native Americans.

    Luckily national parks are seen as one of the US’s biggest successes and best exported idea. Let’s hope the US can lead the way sometime soon for current environmental issues. Actually, San Francisco’s mayor and new lieutenant governor may be the guy who can do it (more on him in my next post).

  2. We should thank the Germans for the concept of ‘being green’ and for showing the rest of the world how to have a successful green political party. Back in 1978 environmentalists in Germany put candidates forward under the ‘Green List’ and made it into the German Parliament in 1983. Through the persistence and success of their political party, “the German Greens offered a beacon for environmentalists in other European countries”.

    It’s nice to have models and examples of what people can do when they put their minds to it, don’t you think?