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NY Times: G.O.P. Pushes to Deregulate Environment at State Level

Keith Bowers

We should all be frightened by the recent article in the NY Times on Saturday; G.O.P. Pushes to Deregulate Environment at State Level. If these politicians think we can grow our way out of this economic downturn by further destroying the very life support systems that allow us to continue to live beyond our means then they are tragically mistaken.

The shortsighted economic gains by a very few will surely come back to haunt all of our children and grandchildren in unimaginable ways. Our natural resources provide fresh air, clean water and healthy soil. They moderate climate, provide flood protection and assimilate nutrients.  What our politicians continue to struggle with is that economy is directly related to ecology. I am not calling for more environmental regulations and I am not suggesting that there may be existing regulations that don’t make much sense; what I am saying is that we need politicians that are true leaders, not lemmings.

7 comments

  1. Michael Soulé says:

    Yes, Keith; I think the Republican antipathy toward the natural world must
    have deeper impulses behind it then merely being pro-business. It may be
    related to recent studies by social psychologists showing that the major
    drivers and components of morality in conservatives are adherence to
    authority and purity, not to mention control. Nature is impure, messy,
    uncontrolled by us. And enviros are bad people because they are
    permissive–promoting policies that promote nature's anarchic dominion.

    Michael Soulé

  2. Marcellus Madman says:

    Michael is correct, the psychological profile of hyper-conservatives is one driven by authority, fear, and purity. Eck, that nature stuff might have germs. Institutionalized obsessive compulsive disorder. Coupled with the abysmal lack of science education and understanding in the Republican leadership and you have a dangerous combination.

    http://thefastertimes.com/evolution/2010/04/14/not-all-republicans-deny-science-but-all-science-deniers-are-republican/

  3. Ted Brown says:

    The comments are insightful, but I believe if we are going to make headway with protecting and regenerating our natural systems we should refrain from politicizing the issue. This is far more important and needs to rise above the bickering that occurs when we pit it as a Republican vs. Democrat issue. Rather we have to become adept at psycho-analyzing all parties and demonstrate that no matter what your political persuasion, embracing mother nature is a win-win proposition. And yes, we do need leaders that understand this and can advocate for it.

    TB

  4. Firdaus Jhabvala says:

    How about this agenda for CONSERVATIVES?
    1) CONSERVE the Environment.
    2) CONSERVE our respect for all other species.
    3) CONSERVE our natural resources through minimal usage and total restoration wherever possible.
    4) CONSERVE our most respected human thoughts and achievements.
    5) CONSERVE all that is good in humans.
    Anyone who wishes to improve on my Conservative Agenda, please chip in. I'm sure happy being a CONSERVATIVE this way. The other folk are certainly not conserving anything good or useful, and should be rightly denounced as DESTRUCTIVES, as words and ideas do matter.

  5. John Moyer says:

    The only way to get the GOP on board is to show them that there's a way to make money at it. Before "green" became a marketing term it was an ethos. But it has to be authentic. That means calling something "green" doesn't make it so. You must demonstrate that your product or service is "greener" than your competitor and be able to clearly justify it in the minds of the consumer. In other words a "green wash" won't do. The fossil fuel industry must educate themselves and show that they really get it, or else face decreasing market share and profits, not to mention poor PR.

  6. Court says:

    I think that an ecosystem services approach could definitely get the attention of business-minded people and those wanting to grow the business sector. It can show how multi-functional an ecosystem really is and show how fiscally responsible it is to preserve it.

  7. keith says:

    Thanks to all of you for some good insight and suggestions. Ted is correct, we need to make these issues rise above partisan politics. We really do need to change the paradigm that environmental conservation and restoration are good for the economy, good for our health, and good for our well being. Yes, nature is messy, as Marcellus Madman suggests, but it is also awe inspiring and wonderful. And yes, we do need science to drive more of our political agenda. We do need to demonstrate that clean air, clean water, and fertile soils are ecosystems services that should be valued and accounted for in our GNP, we also need principles, as Firdaus suggests. With these principles we need a vision. What is lacking most with the environmental movement is a vision forward. A vision that demonstrates to people what a truely healthy, sustainable, and a green world would look like. Without this vision people have no where to turn except to the past. Books, articles and information on environmental problems should focus 2/3s of their content on a vision, solutions and actions.

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