Rosenthal Tackles Liberal NIMBYism on the Environment

I've given environmental reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal some grief for her ever-expanding damage list of events and patterns caused by global warming, so I'll give her some credit for her Sunday Week in Review piece on the NIMBY phenomenon among liberal environmentalists: "Green Development? Not in My (Liberal) Backyard."

Though Rosenthal doesn't question the environmental necessity behind bike lanes and windmills, it's refreshing to see a Times story on political hypocrisy that targets the left instead of the right.

Park Slope, Brooklyn. Cape Cod, Mass. Berkeley, Calif. Three famously progressive places, right? The yin to the Tea Party yang. But just try putting a bike lane or some wind turbines in their lines of sight. And the karma can get very different.

Rosenthal even mentions that the opponents of a "wind farm" in Massachusetts "include members of the Kennedy family, whose compound looks out over the body of water."

Critics in New York contend the new Prospect Park bike lane is badly designed, endangering pedestrians and snarling traffic. Cape Wind opponents argue the turbines will defile a pristine body of water. And in Berkeley, store owners worried that reduced traffic flow and parking could hurt their business.

But some supporters of high-profile green projects like these say the problem is just plain old Nimbyism - the opposition by residents to a local development of the sort that they otherwise tend to support....But policymakers in the United States have been repeatedly frustrated by constituents who profess to worry about the climate and count themselves as environmentalists, but prove unwilling to adjust their lifestyles or change their behavior in any significant way....In interviews with pedestrians and motorists on Prospect Park West, opponents stridently criticized the bike lane - though (this being Park Slope) nearly everyone made a point of saying they generally approved of cycling.