Why the Green Movement Plays A Major Role in the Occupy Wall Street Protests

by , 10/05/11
filed under: Manhattan,News,Politics

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Many may not think that Occupy Wall Street is a green event, but it most certainly is, seeing that much of the lobbying and subsidies that the protestors are rallying against are for dirty-energy companies — mainly, Big Oil. Recent quarterly earnings from by oil companies, for example, are quiet shocking, numbering in the billions. Many of these oil companies, however, continue to demand tax breaks and subsidies.

Many protestors (some who are also veterans), are also rallying against the US’s massive military budget, which many believe should be redirected to more domestic matters such as alternative energy, in order to end the US’s addiction to foreign oil. The US spends more on defense than the top 23 militaries in the world combined, and some have even argued that if the US were to cut military spending by half, it would still be 3 times more than what China – the second largest military power – spends.

What ties all the above together is the lack of investment and development in green initiatives by the federal government in order to satisfy the current status quo, which is responsible for causing wealth inequality and big corporate deregulation. While the demonstrators do not have a centralized set of demands or any specific goals they are trying to achieve at the moment, the solidarity that the protestors echo is grounded on the fact that many feel that the government has not looked out for their best interests. Instead, they feel that the government has decided to support the top 1 percent in the economic ladder. This is why a common rally in the protests is “We are the 99,” as in the 99 percent of the rest of the population. Part of the concerns of the protestors is grounded in a green philosophy, which has frequently been undermined by big oil.

Although some have called the Occupy Wall Street movement liberal, there are actually many different political views represented within the protestors. Some for example, consider themselves Libertarian, others socialists. Some, simply progressive, while others maintain to be conservative. What they all have in common, however, is their desire to see a change in the current economic system, which is based primarily on favoring major corporations, who have a profound influence in the American political system. As the protests continue to spread to other cities across the United States, environmental activists should seek to become more involved in the protests as an organized whole, rather than just as scattered individuals.

+ Occupy Wall Street

Our original reporting & opinions are supplemented by Treehugger’s great piece on why environmentalists should care about Occupy Wall Street.

Photos © Will Giron for Inhabitat



  1. Catfish6 October 7, 2011 at 4:45 am
    I'm not a professional protester and I'm relatively new to the phrase 'co-opting'. In fact I'm an amateur investor myself. However what's being done here and on a few other environmental blogs is a shame. I appreciate that green folks share some passions with OWS, but to step in and add yet another message to the mix. The protest is having tremendous difficulty keeping focus on the greed of the banks and their irresponsible financial decisions, as well as the dynastic and institutional wealth in America. To protest under any other banner is adding fuel to the media fire on the indecisiveness of OWS, and it is truly a selfish act. If you come out, unite under one banner; don't try to ride the wave to get your point across, please.
  2. lazyreader October 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm
    These people are economically unequal? Celebrities who also attended these events were Russell Simmons, Anti-Flag, Margaret Atwood, Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, Alec Baldwin, Radiohead, and George Soros. Nothing like millionaires to tell people there is economic inequality in the world. This is just another attempt to bolster the anti-capitalism sentiment. Yet it's the poorest people in the world that need capitalism the most. Hollywood seems to hate capitalism yet I'm confused as to how and where Hollywood gets it's money from. When famous millionaires all get preachy at the same time it can only mean one thing: they’ve had it up to here with the rich. It's a plethora of paranoia, self-pity, self-righteousness, class warfare, and economic illiteracy. People who demand more from government and want an enhancement of the nanny state. They have greatest sense of privilege and entitlement. We have a generation(s) of Americans today who have never suffered. They do not know the true evils of history. They know nothing of Nazism, racism, abject poverty, communism. We've watched Europe nearly collapse under the weight of regulation and entitlements of it's nanny states. The protesters want less in-between involvement between business and government........As long as government tries to pick private-sector winners, green or otherwise, corporatism endures, isn't propping up alternative energy companies like Solyndra just that. And as long as regulatory regimes prohibit large-scale investment by all but the most seasoned lobbyists, the market will remain less open than it should be. The strongest opposition to globalization has come from wealthy "First World" activists, it's amazing rich people are protesting the very thing that made them so rich to begin with.