Greens originally grew out of a new understanding of the roots of many of our problems, IMO. It was called “Green” because it didn’t fit into the capitalist/ socialist/communist boxes economists were using. It tended to look with skepticism on Eurocentric answers, the Western industrial paradigm, and the kind of corporate science that served as its handmaiden because of the obvious effects that mindset was having on the Earth.
The late Russell Means, (Oglala Lakota) put it this way: “I don’t believe these theories [Marxism and anarchism and “leftism” in general] can be separated from the rest of the of the European intellectual tradition. It’s really just the same old song.
“The European materialist tradition of despiritualizing the universe is very similar to the mental process which goes into dehumanizing another person. . . .
“In terms of the despiritualization of the universe, the mental process works so that it becomes virtuous to destroy the planet. Terms like progress and development are used as cover words here, the way victory and freedom are used to justify butchery in the dehumanization process. . . .
” . . . Revolutionary Marxism is committed to even further perpetuation and perfection of the very industrial process which is destroying us all. It offers only to “redistribute” the results–the money, maybe–of this industrialization to a wider section of the population. It offers to take wealth from the capitalists and pass it around; but in order to do so, Marxism must maintain the industrial system.
“. . . So, in both theory and practice, Marxism demands that non-European peoples give up their values, their traditions, their cultural existence altogether. We will all be industrialized science addicts in a Marxist society. . . .
“There is another way. There is the traditional Lakota way and the ways of the American Indian peoples. It is the way that knows that humans do not have the right to degrade Mother Earth, that there are forces beyond anything the European mind has conceived, that humans must be in harmony with all relations or the relations will eventually eliminate the disharmony. A lopsided emphasis on humans by humans–the Europeans’ arrogance of acting as though they were beyond the nature of all related things–can only result in a total disharmony and a readjustment which cuts arrogant humans down to size, gives them a taste of that reality beyond their grasp or control and restores the harmony. . . . ” [All above quotes taken from his speech “Marxism is as Alien to My Culture as Capitalism.”]
As early Greens recognized, what’s needed is a new, humbler, less Eurocentric and anthropocentric way of living on the Earth, and that’s what the term “Green” is meant to represent. Identifying as “eco-socialists” blurs that vision and puts us back into the conventional economic boxes with all of their limitations and baggage when what’s needed is the ability to evolve and think freshly in light of all the knowledge we now possess.