Putting the conserve in “conservative”

November 13th, 2014

Hopefully by now you have fulfilled your civic duty and voted. (Voting day was last Tuesday if you’re confused.)


Because of the elections, your John Carroll environmentalist has decided to explain why everyone should be a treehugger like me.


Specifically, this article is for the conservatives on campus. If you don’t know any conservatives, find a guy in a Beta sweatshirt, or come find me. That’s right – even though I’m an environmental wacko, I’m still a conservative. It can be done, readers.


Environmental issues are typically labeled as “liberal” or “Democrat.” It’s unfortunate at best that a huge issue impacting everyone is just written off as a “fringe movement” by the GOP. This is especially apparent when going through the platforms of the candidates. Most issues are pretty clear-cut. The Democrat says he supports legalized gay marriage. The Republican does not. The conservative is pro-life. The Democrat is pro-choice. The Democrat thinks we should have a comprehensive plan to deal with climate change. The Republican doesn’t think climate change is real.


Wait, what? Having a political debate about environmental policy could be extremely beneficial to not only the environment, but also the public. I bet no one would know as much as they do about the effects of legalization of marijuana if the political debate was “legalize it” vs. “marijuana is a myth.” Denying its existence is going to get us nowhere.


We’re going to just keep having one side proposing ultra-liberal environmental policy, while the Republicans sit there proposing nothing because it doesn’t exist. Instead of a tactless “no,” we could be proposing environmental policy changes that not only forward sustainability goals, but also economic goals.


One of the best ways to motivate people to take better care of this earth is to allow people to take personal ownership of it. This can be accomplished by allowing people to own land or allowing them to make use of the environment.


A stellar example of this is hunters and fishers – a group not known for liberalism. Even still, hunters and fishers contribute more money to environmental causes than any other group of people [Ducks Unlimited]. It is not because hunters are selflessly giving of themselves. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. They use the environment for recreation. They know how valuable the environment is and how it needs be protected.


The way the hunter sees it is that if the environment is not protected, it won’t be there next season. Empowering  people is a better motivator for change than increasing regulations and growing the power of government. Stay classy and stay green, JCU.