Thursday, February 11, 2010

Conservation as a Conservative Issue

It's interesting, in the full Chinese curse sense, that so many Republicans have turned from conservation and environmental protection. Especially, when you see one of my State Senators, Sylvia Allan, in full wing nut mode.

 I especially like the 6000 years that the Earth's been here. Which is perhaps where we have some of the divide.

I bring it up, after reading this article from hot bed of Communism, Yale.

The article is a reminder, that conservation, and protecting our environment and shared lands is hardly an issue for one party or another.  It is a matter of protecting our heritage, and insuring their health for the well being not just of the wildlife, but our own.

It is entirely in our power as a nation to preserve large tracts of playgrounds for rich and poor alike, and to preserve the game...But this end can only be achieved by wise laws and by a a resolute enforcement of the laws. Lack of such legislation and administration will result in harm to all of us, but most of all harm to the nature lover who doe not possess vast wealth. Already there have sprung up here and there through the country, as in New Hampshire and the Adirondacks, large private preserves.

It is one of the issues that you see some division in the GOP that is stark and tragic.  Where you will see great divides as those who favor stripping and mining, and tossing cheap rights to their friends and relations, and then you have the hunters, the farmers, and outdoorsmen and women who fear the purely industrial use and then you have those who think of our lands and air are for folks to do with as they will, and consequence be damned.

From a purely economic standpoint, there is a problem in our economic model that favors short term profits and gains, as opposed to long term growth.  What is odd and frightening, is that it is often Conservatives who seemingly forget that portion of their monikker, and press ahead with these short sighted policies and think that they're being far sighted and wise.  Couple those short sighted interests, with oddly intentioned folks like State Senator Sylvia Allan, whose religious beliefs put them in the camp that the Earth is to be used by Mankind for our needs, and our needs alone, and with no thought of stewardship, and you get an odd confluence of goals.

That there is a powerful anti-science, and yet pro-business faction, and one that tends to ignore inconvienent facts, and instead press forward with that they know is right.  And it is a forgetful faction.  Forgetful of history, and forgetful of perspective.

Never mind that many industries understand the need for conservation of our resources, and understand full well the science of species loss, and the economic fallout of stripping resources and leaving naught but scarred up landscape and poisoned waters behind.  In Maine, fishing interests came together for self imposed fishing limits, and mutually enforced, because fishermen realized that their livelihood was at stake, and at stake not just for themselves, but for their children, and their children as well.

The NRA, with a great deal of support from Republicans is also a supporter of conservation of lands--from a sporting perspective often enough--but they are just as likely to be allies protecting lands from over development.  Just as likely to fear encroachment, and just as likely to remind Senators and Congresscritters that short term gain is a dangerous sort of justification. Not just the NRA, but logging interests, and clean water is a powerful motivator for many industries beyond farming and tourism.

To bring those issues to the fore, we need to remind our Congresscritters and Senators, when they begin to nail their hands to their foreheads that the terrible Liebruls just want to keep business down, and they begin the chanting of "States rights" which tends to be the Libertarian cry for "I fear regulation in any form", it might help to put thing in a very Republican context. and patriotic duty.

Birds should be saved because of utilitarian reasons; and, moreover, they should be saved because of reasons unconnected with any return in dollars and cents. A grove of giant redwoods or sequoias should be kept just as we keep a great and beautiful cathedral. The extermination of the passenger pigeon meant that mankind was just so much poorer; exactly as in the case of the destruction of the cathedral at Rheims.

Roosevelt considered conservation of equal historical and cultural significance as the manmade cultural treasures of Europe. And their loss would be a blow to America's history.  In preserving it, we preserve her character. And reminding some of my forgetful brethren and sistren might be in order...

Originally posted on Mon Jul 06, 2009 at 22:34:15 PM EDT at The Motley Moose

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