One of the indicators of how politics is embracing environmental imperatives is the way that green parties have proliferated: between 1999 and 2011 their number increased from 24 to 90 and they currently have 229 politicians in regional and national parliaments.
However, politicians don’t need to belong to a green party to include environmentally friendly elements in their campaigns and policies. Helen Clark, for example, the former Prime Minister of New Zealand who in 2007 pledged to make her country the first carbon-neutral nation, led the Labour Party.
Yolanda Kakabadse, International President of WWF – the global conservation organization, bridges the gap between politics and civil society. Co-founder of Fundación Natura and Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano, both important non-governmental environmental organizations in Ecuador, Kakabadse also served as minister of the environment and played an important role as a key negotiator for Project Yasuni-ITT, which aims NOT to exploit an estimated 400 million barrels of oil that lie beneath one of the planet’s most biodiverse places in the Ecuadorian Amazon. ‘Politicians around the world need to understand that the environment and biodiversity are no longer issues to be dealt with by conservationists and scientists,’ Kakabadse told TUNZA. ‘They need to receive the same attention from politicians as economic crises and elections. And green policies should be accompanied by good education and communication campaigns that generate awareness of the benefits of sustainable development.’