My years working in the Green movement are mostly the culmination of the social justice spirit that I garnered from attending the first Earth Day with 60,000 others on April 22, 1970, at Belmont Plateau in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. We went to celebrate our planet's environment and raise public
awareness about pollution; many of the 20 million who participated nationwide, like myself, went on to pursue careers in ecological advocacy or engage in related political activism. The challenges on this year's 50th anniversary include climate change, biodiversity loss, resource scarcity, etc., and unfortunately, the policies of the duopoly fail to address such concerns adequately.
Only the Green Party envisions a platform with planks that demand bold, immediate responses rather than the slow incremental pace set by the two major parties.I was raised by a very conservative family that always voted Republican (except for Catholic candidates like the Kennedy brothers).
My first political action was in 1964 when I canvassed door-to-door for Barry Goldwater, but by 1968 I had soured of the whole Republicrat bunch and would have written in Dick Gregory as my presidential choice had I been allowed to vote (I was 18 but legally you had to be 21 then). I had also become involved with a Philadelphia third party, the Consumer Party, voted for their candidates for local and statewide offices, and the People’s Party presidential candidates in 1972 and 1976.
In 1980 I ran for Congress in central Pennsylvania on the Consumer Party ticket which was the Pennsylvania affiliate of the Citizens Party. I got enough votes to qualify the Consumer Party for ballot status in Centre County allowing several candidates to run for office in subsequent years. While attending the 1984 Citizens Party convention, I heard about another conference organized by the Committees of Correspondence (CoC) that eventually evolved into the Green Party of the United States.
I went because I had heard of the Green Party (Germany's die Gruenen was famous internationally in the 1980s) and agreed with CoC speakers such as Charlene Spretnak about the need for a Green movement in the USA. I have been Green ever since that St. Paul gathering. I knew of Ralph Nader's advocacy work and wrote him in as my presidential choice in 1996. Fortunately, I could vote for him as the official Green candidate in 2000. I'm looking forward to another strong presidential Green in 2020. I will never vote for a Demublican in hopes of ousting Trump, much as I hope we don't get another four years of The Donald!
Doug Mason has been involved in the Green Party since its inception. He currently serves as Chair, Centre
County Green Party, Pennsylvania.