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MSNBC's Contessa Brewer Pleads for Government to Force Environmentalism

During Monday's12PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer helped promote the network's "Green is Progress" week by demanding greater government intervention to force people to follow an environmentalist agenda: "Until government says these are the standards that everyone has to aspire to, we're not really making progress."

Brewer made the comments while interviewing Practically Green CEO Susan Hunt Stevens and introduced the segment by touting the latest poll numbers on environmental awareness: "87% of Americans say they personally care about protecting the environment. 75% of Americans believe projects that protect the environment could also give us an economic boost....38% say the government should be most responsible for protecting the environment." However, she fretted people weren't making enough sacrifices: "...everybody says in a survey, 'oh, do you want to live greener? Do you personally care about the environment?' Yes. 'Are you willing to spend 25 cents extra in a federal gas tax that would definitely help improve the use of fuel?' Not so much."

Later, Brewer assured viewers that she was a true believer: "I'm on the record saying that I care, and, I mean, I have my own compost bin and I use biodegradable soaps and all of that kind of stuff." She then concluded that the only way to get others to follow her example would be through government enforcement: "...research shows we can do that all we want, but until government here...sets policy. Until government says these are the standards that everyone has to aspire to, we're not really making progress."

Stevens explained how parents with environmental paranoia could help bring about the regulations that Brewer called for: "...even if your home can become this green bubble, you suddenly send your children to school and you send them out to a world that may not be pesticide-free, or may not have eco-friendly cleaning products, or may not have healthy food. And that causes people to have to become engaged. And that leads to voters and voters lead to government."

Brewer wrapped up the segment by praising Stevens's efforts: "I just want to point out, there are incredible ideas on your website. I went on today and checked it out....And I really appreciated some of the ideas, because it takes a tiny baby step first."

Here is a full transcript of the November 15 interview:

12:53PM ET

CONTESSA BREWER: When it comes to growing the economy a lot of Americans see green. According to a recent survey, 87% of Americans say they personally care about protecting the environment. 75% of Americans believe projects that protect the environment could also give us an economic boost. And who do they want to take the lead? 38% say the government should be most responsible for protecting the environment. Susan Hunt Stevens is the founder and CEO of Practically Green, which helps people take concrete action to live greener. I mean, you know, here's the thing, everybody says in a survey, 'oh, do you want to live greener? Do you personally care about the environment?' Yes. Are you willing to spend 25 cents extra in a federal gas tax that would definitely help improve the use of fuel? Not so much.

SUSAN HUNT STEVENS: Sure. However, I think what's interesting is moms are leading the charge. Just recently, a survey from Ecofocus Worldwide came out and said that 69% of all women are now considered eco-aware. And that means they are making real tangible living decisions to change. And what is driving that, in many ways, is concerns about health and concerns about toxins and products. And we see that with our own online service and the actions that people are taking. They are very interested in finding those actions that save money, like reducing energy and water, but also those that rid their cleaning products and their personal care products and their food from the toxins that they do believe are hurting their kids.

BREWER: These are actions that we all take. And I'm going to play devil's advocate here, but I'm on the record saying that I care, and, I mean, I have my own compost bin and I use biodegradable soaps and all of that kind of stuff. But research shows we can do that all we want, but until government here, Susan, sets policy. Until government says these are the standards that everyone has to aspire to, we're not really making progress.

STEVENS: Well, there's a great quote from Paul Hawken, who says, 'in order to change the world you have to change your own practices.' We're big believers at Practically Green that by learning what you have to do to live healthier and greener you start to become conscious. And even if your home can become this green bubble, you suddenly send your children to school and you send them out to a world that may not be pesticide-free, or may not have eco-friendly cleaning products, or may not have healthy food. And that causes people to have to become engaged. And that leads to voters and voters lead to government.

BREWER: I just want to point out, there are incredible ideas on your website. I went on today and checked it out.

STEVENS: Thank you.

BREWER: And I really appreciated some of the ideas, because it takes a tiny baby step first. Thank you.

STEVENS: Yes, thank you.


-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.