Environmentalism is a modern extension of primitivism. Natural man and our earlier forms were the true and noble human cultures. If we cannot live in the natural state, then our next best option is to preserve as much of nature as possible. The creation of Gaia cultish behavior and imagery fits into this as it is a rejection not just of the modern world (primitivism) but of Christianity. This is broader than the global warming liberal death cult idea. The biggest American proponents of environmental initiatives seem to be pretty educated or credentialed individuals who must realize the rather limited population density across the globe (and their own nation). Those same individuals, whether SWPL or standard leftist, signal constantly that they are the good whites. Environmentalism, and Gaia imagery, is a signal that they reject their white, Christian heritage, but more importantly, acts as an absolution from first world guilt.
Trashing their history is nothing new to modern leftists, but it looks rather ridiculous in light of their own situation. The American left holds the reins on American society, guiding America and the world. It's a mob empire they run and a consumer society of strip mining operations in their eyes. They see this and curse it, constantly finding new environmental concerns to shout and push. They still are willing consumers, so this is not the pathological altruism on full tilt when they discuss race. The average SWPL wears garments created in third world sweatshops from resources extracted with no labor protection for a good payoff to the capitalist wholesalers and retailers... and a kickback to the usually warlord based governments in charge of the resource areas. I've gone over the hypocrisy of ripping on Blood Diamonds while buying Blood Iphones. Those lefties know it. Deep down, they know farmers crossing the ocean for a better life pales in comparison to slave mining labor and near slave sweatshop labor for a phone they will use for 1-2 years. The small, token gestures to environmentalism are like acts of contrition, and public declarations of organic, hand made, fair labor items to replace their old consumer junk are modern day public confessions. These moments of environmental protector-warrior ameliorate the conflict that they are exactly the resource gobbler that they publicly shame on their social media sites and vote against on the other side come election day.
There is a small religious element to it that is appealing theoretically to the modern atheist or irreligious American. In the early days of the American environmental crusade, an American professor, Lynn Townsend White, Jr, theorized that the root cause of the environmental problems of the 20th century lay not in modern industrialization, but way back in the religious thinking of the middle ages. Once again, evil Christianity is to blame for something that came well after the peak of Christianity and in the midst of its decline amongst the ruling class who usually control corporate pollution decisions. See, those evil Christians started the idea that man has dominion over the earth, making us rapacious monsters. Environmentalism becomes not just a signal about your liberalism but also of your rebellion from the Christian tradition. This is rather comical as a decent portion of the Catholic community resides in sub-Sahara Africa, the Philippines and Latin America; sources of other cultures which the left constantly pumps the virtues of and considers more authentic in lefty primitive fetishism. The main point is to allow the lefty the possibility of being a born member of the dominant socioeconomic group yet a part of the 'other'.
This modern form of environmentalism is similar to your friend who lives in an all white neighborhood who constantly brings up their one black friend who is never around when others are present. I also knew teenagers in Maine who had girlfriends from Canada. The apocalyptic doomsday scenarios of global warming unchecked are straight out of the Book of Revelations. Consumed in searing heat as the oceans boil! The lefties pay the religious dues to prevent such an onslaught by vocally supporting green policies, spreading the word, and working to save earth. Because the rest of their ideology sides with the underclass and the other in general opposition to straight, white Christian society, they feel immense guilt at their wealth and status in the global hierarchy. The sin of being a safe and secure member of the first world needs absolution. Donate to the Sierra Club, buy green household cleaners, and vote for politicians who will make sure to protect the earth. All will be forgiven.