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Updated 9/3

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It took a Southerner, Al Gore, to make Americans reconnect with the environmental movement.

"The planet has a fever," Gore testified to Congress in March 2007. "If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor. If the doctor says you need to intervene here, you don't say, 'Well, I read a science-fiction novel that tells me it's not a problem.'"

Now the Center for a Better South offers a new book to help Southern policymakers move forward and respond to environmental challenges in a responsible way. The new book, Getting Greener: Progressive environmental ideas for the American South, outlines 15 policy recommendations for Southern leaders and offers a dozen ways consumers can get greener today without any action by governments. (Read the book's introduction.)

Turning environmental challenges into opportunities

For more than a generation, the environmental movement got sidetracked from its heyday of success in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Many environmentalists agree that the movement's last big success was passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, which was upheld four years later by the U.S. Supreme Court. Until Gore's call to action with An Inconvenient Truth, the face of environmental policy was fractured. But through the persistence, grace, charm and insistence of Gore and his allies, America finally took notice. Now, the environmental movement across the country has new energy.

S.C. Sen. Phil Leventis, right, outlines how the Getting Greener book is a blueprint for environmental policy in the South during a Chapel Hill news conference. Center President Andy Brack looks on.

Over the next generation, millions of Americans will continue to move into the Sunbelt. The South will face new challenges of development and infrastructure pitted against traditional uses of land and Southerners' heritage with fields, mountains, rivers, streams, marshes and forests.

The Center for a Better South believes it is time for Southern lawmakers to respond to the coming challenges and work to develop progressive environmental policies that will allow our society and nature to interact in coming years without destroying the link between the outdoors and the region's quality of life.


Getting Greener: Progressive Environmental Ideas for the American South, written by conservationist Eddy Moore for the Center, presents a list of strong, fundamental ideas generally applicable across the region. These are not newfangled policies. Rather, they are basic, proven approaches outlined in the context of the specific needs of Southern residents, businesses and governments. Our goal is to make these ideas tangible and accessible for Southern policymakers so they can meet the environmental challenges the region is facing.

In the book and throughout this Web site, you'll learn how Southern states can:

University of Central Arkansas President Lu Hardin, right, extols the ideas in the Center's new book of environmental policy during a press conference in Conway, Ark. S.C. Sen. Phil Leventis, left, listens. More in NEWS.

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