In an op-ed for the New York Times, Gracy Olmstead argues that there may be a solution to our fractured partisan politics: localism. She states
at the local level, our interests intertwine: They are practical, achievable, even apolitical.This is localism, a bottom-up, practically oriented way of looking at today’s biggest policy dilemmas. Instead of always or only seeking to fix municipal issues through national policy, localism suggests that communities can and should find solutions to their own particular problems, within their own particular contexts. The best walkability solutions for Washington, D.C., may not work in my town.
Olmstead cites a sustainability case as an example:
Localism manifests itself in a variety of forms. The farmer and author Joel Salatin has seen localism thrive within the sustainable agriculture movement: States like Wyoming and Maine have campaigned for “local food freedom laws,” which enable farmers to sell certain goods to neighbors without as much federal oversight or bureaucratic red tape.
What are other examples related to environmental politics that might be resolved through “localism”?
I think “localism” is a great use of political influence to better local communities and municipalities. I think the idea of localism is really begging to take off; more and more citizens and local politicians recognize that they will have greater success in implementing change in their community by enacting local ordinances and “popular laws”, like initiatives and referendums, then attempting to pass something through the congress. Localism is the natural response to gridlocked congress, citizens love it because it provides a speedy resolve to their problems and public officials love it because it looks great when reelection roles around. In terms of localism promoting the environment, given the current state of our EPA its agency head, Scott Pruitt, and the presidents environmental stance, localism is a good outlet to produce environmentally friendly policy and practices within the community. I believe that as time goes on article like this are going to becoming exceedingly more popular given the current state of our government.