I’ve travelled the country. I’ve been to the the big cities. The air sucks. Goto a place like D.C. and its like a blanket over your face. North Dakota’s air is still very clean by those standards.
That said, this state must stop selling its soul and whoring itself out to the energy producers that are pretty much the entire basis for our economy at this point.
We here in North Dakota have gotten to the point where we are dependent on the money that the energy industry has pumped into the economy. This is great, I would never say anything bad about the fact that this industy has been good for the economy and the income levels in this state. But high paying jobs are not enough.
Teddy Roosevelt came to North Dakota for the clean and open air that was not in New York City and was literally killing him in NYC. Luckily there isn’t much pollution out west, but in the Mercer County (where I grew up) and the Bismarck area the air is not nearly what it should be.
I am not a tree hugger. Typically, can’t stand enviromentalist wacko’s who think of everything in terms of ‘enviromentally friendly.’
Rather, this issue should be looked at from the point of view of ‘human friendliness.’
North Dakota is a conservative state, as am I a conservative person. But it has always been my feeling that there isn’t nearly enough conservation within the conservative movement.
This state should make a concerted effort to not only be energy independent and self sustaining, but also a ‘clean’ or ‘green’ state, whichever your political leanings tell you is better.
North Dakota’s economic success should not be at the cost of its clean air and its children’s respiratory health.
Conservatism cannot be genuine without conservation; whether that is fiscal, social, or enviromental.
I believe we are seeing the beginning of a three-way split in American politics. The three groups are: the left wing machine; the “stand pat” Republicans; and the supporters of “American Solutions.” I’ve written about this split before in my weekly newsletter. It applies across many issues but for now, let’s focus on the environment.
The Left Wing Machine. The first group is those on the left who believe that only big government, big litigation, high taxes, and big regulation are appropriate answers for our environmental challenges.
The “Stand Pat” Republicans. The second group is those on the right who have grown so weary of the left using the environment as an emotional tool to push higher taxes and bigger government that they reflexively ignore or deny environmental challenges.
American Solutions. The third group – the group that I believe is the future of the American conservative movement, and indeed the future of American politics – are those who favor a “green conservatism” – an optimistic, positive, science and technology based, entrepreneurial, market-oriented, incentive-led, conservative environmentalism that creates more solutions faster and that will result in more biodiversity with less pollution and a safer planet.
As conservatives, we cannot trap ourselves into being “Stand Pat” Republicans. If the 2006 election taught us anything, it is that “Stand Pat” Republicans are no match for the left wing machine. This is as true for our environmental challenges as any other issue. In the absence of a clearly articulated “green conservatism,” the left wing machine will win.
Aside from the political ramifications, there is also the moral imperative of creating a future in which children in America and, indeed, all over the world, enjoy a much higher standard of living through a more vibrant economy and cleaner environments with greater biodiversity.
Values of Green ConservatismAn American Solutions approach will develop a “green conservatism.”
1. Green conservatism favors clean air and clean water.
2. Green conservatism favors maximum biodiversity as a positive good.
3. Green conservatism favors minimizing carbon loading in the atmosphere as a positive public value.
4. Green conservatism is pro-science, pro-technology, and pro-innovation.
5. Green conservatism believes that green prosperity and green development are integral to the successful future of the human race.
6. Green conservatism believes that economic growth and environmental health are compatible in both the developed and developing world.
7. Green conservatism believes that we can realize more positive environmental outcomes faster by shifting tax code incentives and shifting market behavior than is possible from litigation and regulation.
As a key part of green prosperity and green development, there has to be a green energy strategy which is designed to enable the human race to make the transition from historic fossil fuels which dramatically improved the quality of life over the pre-industrial period to a new clean generation of energy which will: enable us in national security terms to be liberated from dependence on dangerous dictatorships; enable us in economic terms to be effective in worldwide competition; and enable us in environmental terms to provide for a much cleaner and healthier future.
Reliable, affordable energy is indispensable to economic growth around the planet, and economic growth is essential to a healthier environment. In so many ways both here and abroad, we truly achieve “green through growth”.