Protecting environment isn’t just an issue for those on the left

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, June 4, 2019

“The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.”

Psalm 24:1

If you listen to mainstream propaganda, you’ll be told that conservatives’ opinions on the “environment” vacillate from indifference to disdain. You’ll be told that those on the right value profit over people. That industry always wins over creation. That money and the market are a holy grail and that people and their concerns, especially those with the land and its resources, are to be ignored at best and scoffed at in our worst. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t any truth to that. But I’d also be lying if I said it comes anywhere close to being half truth, let alone the whole truth.

For starters, I want to relay my uncomfortableness with terms like the environment, and especially Mother Earth. The former being cold, stale and too scientific, and the latter conjuring up pagan connotations and images of worship of creation instead of creator. Which brings about the terms I like to use when speaking on this issue — creation and nature. Creation connects us to ethereal and the mysterious and to our long standing traditions both in sacred scripture and orally, that all that we see (and even what we don’t) is brought about by a creative force beyond us and our intelligence. For Christians this means Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and some understanding, if not a literal view of the Genesis narrative.

Being good stewards of the Earth means living in a manner in which we care for the created order, from plants to animals to mankind. This does not eliminate commerce, industry, use of resources, changing topography, or the like. It does call for us to be ethically and Godly in how we do use them however. For instance, it does not go against the created order or God’s law to mine coal, or even to use non-traditional methods to extrapolate it from the Earth. Being a good steward does require one to return the land back like it was in as much possible. This is not a critique on whether or not this is done or if more should be done. I’ve been to some sites that have been strip mined and they are full of life and the landscape is returning to how it once was. I’m sure there are those, particularly on the left, who think more could be done. I’m not here to make that case.

I’m pro coal mining and pro fossil fuel, though I am also fully in favor of exploring alternative energy sources and uses. There is a place for both, and there’s also a place for conservation efforts in both. I’ve long encountered the dichotomy (one I find to be false) in Appalachia to be, you must favor industrialization without consequences or checks or you’re a dirty, tree hugging, hippie. I find solace in neither. In fact it would be safe to say I loathe any form of hippie culture. Finding solace in neither hasn’t prevented me from supporting the good about both.

So, moving forward, here are a few points to illustrate in a conservative case for conservation:

1.) Traditionally, people were tied to the land, and traditionalists often support this. It behooves conservatives who wish to continue this practice to make sure the land can sustain populations. This at a base level means to ensure clean air, clean drinking water, arable soil, with as few contaminants as possible.

2.) As with point number 1, it is also a conservative tradition to pass along a love for the outdoors and the recreational and sporting activities that go along with that. Hunting and fishing are long standing activities (and sometimes ways of life) passed down from father to son, though not only sons, all over America. In fact, sportsman may do more in way of paying fees and licenses to support protection of wetlands and woodlands than any ANTIFA loving lefty protesting for monstrosities like the Paris Climate Accords. It behooves us conservatives to do so, however. Not just for our personal reasons, such as hunting, fishing, boating, etc…But in the tradition of Edmund Burke’s philosophy of a conserving for the common good.

3.) Interconnected with points one and two is the protection of wetlands, waterways, woodlands and mountains for future industry and future workers. While many on the left fail to think of the ramifications of their policies in regards to policing and protecting nature, we must think in terms of creation and the humans who inhabit it. I would never wish to stop an industry such as logging, which not only employs those in the logging business, but truckers, furniture factories, paper mills and so on. I do want sustainable logging, which not only provides jobs and commerce in the here and now, but provides a future for both employment and the enjoyment of forests. The same can be said for fishing industries and so on. In all cases though, balancing the cost and burdens of regulations with people being able to make a living, and by that same token balancing people being able to make a living with the cost and burden of conserving such habitats for the future.

These three points are just a springboard to further discussion on how conservation is a conservative issues as much as it is a leftist talking point. In fact, I would venture to say it is even more of a conservative issue. After all it was Republican President Teddy Roosevelt who was the architect for much of our national park system. Roosevelt, an avid hunter, fisherman and just plain adventurer, saw the need to preserve land for the common good, for the future, to benefit us all.

That’s not to say that this can’t be and hasn’t been abused, one can look to not long passed battles between ranchers and the federal government over grazing rights and who is encroaching on who’s land. And while anyone would be a fool to think that the state doesn’t have inherit rights to protect and preserve some public lands, and thereby species who occupy them, this must also be done with common sense and be devoid of radical left wing environmental policies that worship the Earth and have outright contempt for human beings. These polices must also take into account that a conservative principle is that private property is sacrosanct, as in the old axiom, a man’s home is his castle. That can, and should be extended to his farms, streams and lands. Anytime the machinations of government must act in defiance of a land owners wishes a clear and definite case must be made that the public goods interests outweigh that of the landowner. It’s a duty and a responsibility that should never be taken lightly or to be influenced by anti-human ideologies.

So, conservatives do not let the arena of conservation, and the good stewardship of God’s creation be left to the left. Do not let the Marxists ilk who came up with Earth Day, which by no coincidence is on Vladimir Lenin’s birthday, define what it means to be a conservationist. Follow in the line of Edmund Burke and Teddy Roosevelt in caring for the common good as well as the right of the individual. Make taking care of the “environment” a conservative issue, one we can rightly handle, and let it not be left to the radicalism of the left.