The Green Party’s election victory in the Baden-Wurttemberg state parliament highlights the emergence of the Green movement as a major political force.
For the first time in Germany the Greens will lead a coalition government with the traditional left party, the Social Democrats, taking the minor party role.
The road to political success for the Greens has been a long one. Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt dismissed the Greens saying, “They’re just environmental idiots who will have disappeared again soon,” and similar things have been said about us here in Aotearoa.
It isn’t surprising people around the world are rejecting this analysis and changing their vote to Green in big numbers. We currently face the triple threats of inter-connected environmental, economic and social problems of a scale unseen in human history. Climate change, peak oil, the global financial crisis, and massive social inequality all stem from the traditional political orthodoxy and the traditional political parties have no new ideas on how to fix these problems. As Einstein said, “we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
Green parties across the globe offer new thinking to address these problems we all face. Whereas ten years ago we may have been seen as fringe and the thought of voting for us a luxury, our issues are now at the centre of the political debate and our alternatives form serious policy options.
German voters have turned their traditional political structure on its head by voting Green in big numbers due to the failure of the traditional left and right parties to deal with the issues their country is facing. New Zealand voters face similar dilemmas. At our election in November we too can vote for real change by giving smart Green ideas the big tick at the ballot box.