From the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” department

From the Wall Street Journal today (link good for 7 days):

The Sierra Club is well-known for trying to stop big real-estate-development projects. But in a move that could help it gain new allies, the nation’s best-known environmental group is starting to go to bat for some builders.

“We are trying to be supportive of developers who are doing the right thing,” said Eric Olson, Washington-based director of the Sierra Club’s Healthy Communities Campaign. “We’re also recognizing that you can’t just be against things all the time. You have to be for things.”

It seems that the Sierra Club has realized that by consistently advocating against development, they may have lost credibility as market leaders. By positioning themselves as positive advocates for good growth, they will be able to gain more partners and thereby strengthen their collective voice. Make no mistake – politics played a factor:

The Sierra Club also could gain politically by this move because builders are well-connected in Washington, as well as at the local level in many communities.

There will always be groups that consistently oppose growth; they have their place too. That’s the beauty of freedom – everyone has a voice. I would be curious about what position the local Sierra Club takes on this. I think it’s a step in the right direction. It is easier and more efficient to effect change from within.

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