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Is This the Future of Politics?  


Gordon Herbert 


Politicians are not leaders but follow the trends of society. The past 100 years has seen the rise of a modern materially-oriented society globally, and the relative decline of a more traditional, old fashioned way of life. Political leaders in the West and East have followed this trend and promoted economic development and the material “good life”. But this is now changing. A new vanguard of people is growing rapidly, people who reject the excesses of modern materialism and embrace a more ethical, authentic and caring way of life. They make up about a third of the voting population, more where voting is not compulsory. However, existing major political parties have not yet adapted to their needs. As a consequence there is a large gap between what many voters want and what the major parties are promoting. Whichever political organisation can close this gap will gain an increasing number of progressive voters, but it will need to overhaul its practices in order to do so. 


Who make up this new vanguard? They are people throughout the world who care deeply about the plight of our planet and are working in many fields to preserve its life support systems and to create a far better world. Their concerns include relationships, peace, social justice, ecology, equality of education, adequate health care, equality for women, spirituality (not just religion) and self-actualisation. Authenticity, or practicing ones beliefs, is important to them. This is essential to understand for any political group seeking to engage them, as they easily see through and do not tolerate PR and spin. 


Sociologist Dr Paul Ray calls this vanguard the Cultural Creatives (CCs) because they are distinguished by having a holistic, integral and creative understanding of our role on our planet.[1] The CCs are a surprisingly large body of people who have the potential to lead the world from its present dangers to a safer and better place. Surveys from 1995 to the present in North America, Western Europe and Japan show that a third of their national adult populations have the remarkable qualities needed for world renovation. Further surveys are being conducted in other parts of the world that are expected to reveal similar numbers.  


Other major groupings are the Moderns, who make up about 40% of the USA adult population, and the Traditionals, comprising 15%. The Moderns are financial materialists who focus on conventional ideas of success and modern technologies, but largely ignore inner or ‘spiritual’ development, altruism and a contribution to ecological well-being. Traditionals favour a patriarchal family life, conservative religion, militarism and are anti-immigration. A further 10% of the adult population are Transitionals, who are in the process of changing from Moderns to CCs, or from Traditionals to Moderns. 


Cultural Creatives are truly the leader group influencing the progress of civilisation. Ray divides them into “green” and “core” CCs. The latter are more focused on ecological sustainability and the climate crisis as whole planet wisdom, on spiritual self-development, authenticity (or living one’s values) and on countering the depredations of big business conservatism and of jingoism. All CCs are concerned, if the green CCs a little less so, about big business, idealism and self-actualisation. The significance of CCs today is that they are the only large grouping of people that are both aware of the major problems of the planet and that are focused on and determined to take wise and selfless action to do something about it. They are very active in many private, progressive civil society organisations that aim to improve personal relations, society, the global ecology, economic methods and political aims and action.[2] Their activities are changing the political culture just as the movements for racial freedom, women’s liberation and gay rights did many decades ago. 


Of course the CCs have to contend with the inertia and vested interests of the remaining two thirds or more of their national populations. However, Dr Ray has found that CC numbers are increasing by around 2.5% per annum in the USA. We can expect similar rates of growth elsewhere. At this rate they will be more than 50% of the USA voting public by 2020, with a similar percentage in other economically developed countries. In numbers, there are currently 80 million CCs in the USA, 130 million in Western Europe, and 35 million in Japan. The world adult percentage is probably well more than 15% and growing.  


A political analysis of CCs in the USA shows that they identify neither with the traditional left nor right parties, being disappointed with the lack of civilised progress of both.[3] The research shows that there is a strong axis of progressive/regressive views that is at right angles to the left/right dimension of politics. The CCs make up the progressive pole and business conservatives make up the regressive pole. However, neither the Democrat nor the Republican parties have “captured” the CC vote. The gap is such that in 2003 CCs made up 36% of actual voters, while business conservatives had the support of 19% of voters. The left/right parties had about 30% combined, with 20% alienated non voters. There is a political opportunity here, in that a third of voters want much better policies than the major parties are presenting. Since then, in the USA the Democrats with President Obama have attracted some of the CC votes. Whether they will remain attracted depends on the extent to which the Democrats concede activities to the business conservatives. Elsewhere in the world, it is the “green” progressive parties that are attracting CC voters.[4] 


The world is now entering a turbulent period of potential conflict about the environment, global warming, food and water supplies, natural resources, pollution, bad business practices on a global scale that threaten livelihoods, and increasing military presence with potent weapons in many countries. The growing numbers of CCs brings some hope that, as they mobilise politically, we can survive a dangerous future and become a much better world 




[1] Survey and other references are at , , ,
, .  

See the book by Paul H. Ray, PhD and Sherry Ruth Anderson, PhD, The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World, New York: Harmony Books, October, 2000. 

[2] For examples of the latter see, , and  

[3] see .  

[4] See and   


Copyright © 2009 Gordon Herbert.  All Rights Reserved 

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Semi-Random Slogans

Invite a denier to lunch

Eat less meat every day

Form a small climate group

Inertia will kill us, twice

Holiday on bicycles

Learn how to plant and nurture trees

Drain your rice fields sometimes 

Auction caps 

Grow and store carbon 

Write to a newspaper in a denier region 

Help the employees, not the fossil fuel owners

Read a book, not a newspaper, on the bus

350 not 450

Study tropical forest protection

Why are most deniers men?

Carbon tax before cap and trade

Look for a home closer to work

Write a new page for this website

Oppose lobbying

Put a new slogan on your bicycle or bag every day 

Study the latest climate science first

No air-conditioning before lunchtime

Drink just a little cow milk

Study Earth's thermal inertia

Learn how to teach

Send parts of this website to a politician

Grow and store carbon in houses 

Organize exchanges with Asian universities 

Grow crops not livestock

Rationing is equitable

Study thermal inertia in buildings

Practice dialogue, not argument

Behaviour before technology

Make a bicycle path plan

Don't use concrete

Drive a much smaller car

Study the denier claims

1.5 not 2.0

Don't use trees for offsets

Work with a bilingual person 

Eat even less meat every day

Support better democracy

Do deniers care for their grandchildren? 

Paint your roof white

Oppose advertising by polluting companies

Consume less, save money

Form an international group 

Help a politician to learn

Making cement emits CO2.

Education must be global 

Grow and store carbon in the soil

Fans, not air-conditioning

Lobbying is bribery

Study growing algae

Improve the school curricula

You can't read driving a car

Find dated photos of glaciers

Study which companies bribe political parties 

How do you entice a denier to want to learn?

Share your job with an oil driller

Plant trees to absorb carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere

Have you tried Tahini dip?

What do deniers understand?

Dress less formally in the heat

Design a more tempting commuter bus

Get to know a denier's children

Pay tax to fund retraining

Less clothing, not fans

Eat kangaroo meat 


Improve the university curricula

One is enough

Interview a climate scientist on video

Insulate your home

Open a wind turbine factory in a coal town

Study Earth feedback processes

300 not 350

Wheat is safer than rice

Take men's fashions up, and women's down

Use a condom in emergencies

Share some job-time

Protest forest destruction

Wear a cotton coat

Study tree plantations

Eat just a little cheese

Get to know a denier's grandchildren

Why do the rich want to grow?

Put on an extra jumper when its cold outside

Offer a new job to a coal miner

Adopt two

Join an NGO today

Political bribes, not donations

None is enough

Holiday close to home

Invest in a diverse plantation

Wear less in the heat

Talk to migrants about emailing home

Make compost

Promote eco-tourism for locals

Read more of this website

Ask a politician have they read James Hansen

Eat less cream

Jumpers are cheaper than gas

Arrange a climate debate

Build a thick-walled house

Study how to turn moderate deniers

Study fast growing trees

Hand out appropriate leaflets at railway stations

Study your local energy organization

Learn about the delights of veganism

Study Chinese

Practice walking

Shirts are enough in hot weather

Support rapid research on how to turn deniers

Try an IUD

Asians make blankets from cotton and kapok

Get to know your neighbours

Recycle jumpers and coats

Holiday by mass land transport

Drink red wine, not milk

Support rapid research on capturing CO2 from the air.

Hand out leaflets at bus stops

Men's legs are beautiful too

Talk to local government about recycling biological waste

Keep a stock of morning after pills


Adopt another one

When will the USA go metric?

Write and publish leaflets

Holiday on a sailing ship

Start a course on climate change and solutions

Exercise periodically when its cold

Farmers now support the Green party

Give a talk at the local school

Chocolate's great with soya cream

Climate crisis not climate change

Share a car with your neighbours

Study tipping points and irreversibility

Email government ministers

Form a climate group with your neighbours or friends

Read Climate Cover-Up

Study palaeo-climatology

Soon meat becomes less tempting

Improve your foreign language skills

Adopt a baby girl 

Write an article for your local newspaper

Read Storms of My Grandchildren (after reading some climate science such as on this website)

Take plastic packaging off at the shop

Climate emergency not climate crisis

Ask you government to make a good video on the climate emergency

Move your company to where your workers live

Invite your favourite denier to a vegan lunch

Ask the supermarket to turn off half the lights

Study carbon taxes in more than one nation

Join yours with other climate groups

Shop at dimly lit shops

Email people you know abroad

Ask a climatologist to explain the various! meanings of CO2e

Plant and nurture trees in your garden till its full

Learn about biochar

Study the bus routes in your town or city

Support James Hansen for the Nobel Prize for physics, peace or whatever.

Protest new oil exploration

Install a solar thermal hot water heater

Shop for food where the fridges have lids or doors

Plant 10 trees a month in neighbours' gardens and in parks

Ask your adult children what they think

Write a better letter to the newspapers

Organize a demonstration outside coal company offices.

Where are the Nobel prizes for Earth and social sciences?

Form a climate group at work

Give a talk at a school in a coal town

No children is best

Buy a glass of wine for a denier

Start an NGO

Support honest and intelligent politicians

Study short-term GHGs

Join a good political party

Give a talk at a school at an oil town

Study hire-purchase for solar panels

Stake out a coal energy factory

Don't export coal or oil

Work in a vulnerable area

Invest in geothermal

Live with a farmer family in the holidays and help them plant trees

Build a sailing ship

Give talks at the local town.

Hand out leaflets at another station

Video a debate

Move to a swinging seat in time for close elections



















 Michael Tuckson

The website author and publisher, December 2009.


Easy Summary


We must try to understand up-to-date climate science coming out over the last few years that warns of possible disaster. Ice shelves and sheets are melting much faster than before. Global temperatures are rising, with oscillations due to ocean oscillations. Natural causes are minor compared with pollution. This understanding must be spread by advanced adult education, especially among the powerful. As many readers as possible must spread understanding.


Denier leaders are funded by the fossil fuel, tobacco and similar corporations and/or are ideologues. Their arguments are always against, not considering pro and con, as with real science. They rarely call for better understanding, just attempt to confuse. None are climate scientists. Their motivation is salary and weak government, not salary and discovery. Either they do not care about their descendants or they do not understand the probable future.


We must put more emphasis on the short-term greenhouse influences such as methane. Carbon dixide must be captured from the atmosphere. Also we must lead with behaviour change before appropriate technology spreads. Birth control is important in some regions. Job-time sharing and retraining can reduce any unemployment resulting from mitigation measures. Mitigation must be coordinated globally by government and citizens in modern sectors. City pairing could be useful.