Thursday, October 11, 2007


Dear Representative Kucinich,

I was proud to support you in 2004 and am appreciative of your good work for our country, but I have a few concerns this time that I would like to share. I was shaken when a colleague told me that on environmental issues, Edwards is offering a better platform. I have grown to expect you to be well ahead of the curve on these issues, as I still believe you are on other critical topics. MoveOn's embracing of Edwards on his excellent (though still insufficient) climate change plan was a wake-up call for me, as I hope it was for you.
I think all of this is pointing to what I see as a cleavage in the environmental community, what some call dark green and bright green. Dark green is traditional environmentalism, with an emphasis on pollution prevention and cleanup. This is where I started as an environmental activist, and I believe this is roughly where you are, based on your platform. Bright green is the next step, which people like Bill McDonough in Cradle to Cradle and Alex Steffen at Worldchanging.com are promoting. I see this philosophy as essential to our future success as individuals, as Americans, and as a species.
I understand that you're absurdly busy right now, but is there someone in the campaign I can speak with about updating your green platform? I think you'll agree that green democrats and independents are essential to your base, and if you spin it right, a new green platform could be a very positive media event.
Related: Your veganism. It comes up all the time, and it's very dark green. It says that you think that meat and dairy are bad. In the main, you're correct, but there are ethical alternatives: local, organic, humane. I was vegan too, I understand where you're coming from, but you'll win a lot more support by advocating best practices and local farming than by dismissing a massive industry and the majority of Americans. Also, local organic is much tastier, healthier, much greener, and more enjoyable in every way. I had the good fortune of studying this recently with Tim Beatley, reading Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma, and meeting with Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm. This is a fundamental issue, and it points to the difference between dark green and light green. Dark green says that to be sustainable, we need to make do with less. Sacrifice. Bright green says that to be sustainable, we need to live better. We have work to do.
I hope that you'll agree that you want to position yourself as a bright green, competitive candidate.
Thank you so much for your good work and the hope you have given me and many others. I hope you will take this message with an open heart.

Best Regards,

Lyle Solla-Yates
Planning Graduate Student '08
University of Virginia

P.S. I would love to see you start that blog you have on the site.

2 comments:

Mosquito said...

One of the great pioneers in locally raised, grass fed beef is Joel Salatin in Swopes VA. I learned of him watching a bioneer show (either FSTV or LINK tv features this series).

I'm starting to consider driving up there on a 2-3 month basis from the hampton roads area to get my meat supply.

Ypu might want to check this link http://renewingthecountryside.org/index.php?option=&mode=region&task=view&category=43&limit=1&limitstart=0&Itemid=43

Buzz...Buzz...

Lyle Solla-Yates said...

Hey, mosquito, I like your blog, thanks for the read! Joel's a pretty all right guy, I get all my eggs and most of my meat from him, and he gave me some help on some of my early work trying to figure out how to make property taxes work for small farmers.
That said, I still haven't been out there, it's just across the mountains for me. I'm hoping to go in a week or so. From everything I've heard, it's well worth the trip. Have you read Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma? Joel's a major force in it. It changed the way I eat.