The Right’s modern handling and lazy relinquishment of environmentalism has been a disaster. Through aggressive disinterest and by passively allowing the condition of Mother Earth’s decay to become a fixture of the Left’s narrative, the Right has all but handed over humanity’s stake in environmentalism to a sanctimoniously ideological horde who templates their climate-disaster agenda over their disdain and mockery of parental generations rather than substantively addressing the elemental problem: how do we, as a society, live minimalist, ascetic existences while reducing our “carbon footprint,” while simultaneously minimizing disruption of working civilization as much as possible.
If you listen to the Right, it’s the mark of weakness and even ideological traitorousness for a conservative to even ponder the state of the planet’s environmental fitness. This all-or-nothing attitude has resulted in a self-inflicted reputation for the Right in which they view climate change as mythical; the world is fine, nothing wrong here, move right along.
Meanwhile, the rabid Left and its fetish for anti-authoritarian broad strokes and juvenile defiance has been granted full stewardship of the planet’s environmental health by attrition. A serious business has been inherited by the Left due to the Right’s absence. We don’t believe anything is wrong and all environmental overtures are pure hysterics, so we let the Left have it.
And we end up with this bothersome cherub.
Sporting an obligatory downtrodden identity, Fret-a Thunberg rails against boomers and anyone old enough to be her parents as the sole perpetrators of the big bad climate change that will bring Earth to her knees within…weeks. She feeds off the binary ideological dynamic surrounding environmentalism by villainizing all established leaders of government and business and painting youth as the victims of this blind oligarchy which has utter destructive disinterest in the planet’s well-being. And the Right responds in kind, acting like that which she implies to her adorers.
The Right needs to wake up and seize the issue and shape it into a context which conveys their concerns about the planet, which announces to the world that the Left does not own this concern.
There is nothing ideological about maintaining a clean, pristine environment that is maximally sustainable given our population and its habits and demands. Conservatives don’t want to live in neighborhoods with graffiti and garbage and fecal-infested homeless tent cities. This is an environmental issue, from the local to the global and it is right to take an interest in the planet’s healthy ecosystem.
Some conservatives are waking up and thinking outside that anti-environmental bubble.
Before he became a climate activist during his freshman year of college, Benji Backer had spoken at the Conservative Political Action Conference, written for right-leaning sites such as TownHall and RedState, and made a name for himself as a conservative commentator on television.
But like many other young people, he worried about climate change and didn’t see a place for himself in either the conservative movement, which mostly ignores or denies climate change, or the environmental movement, in which major institutes like the Sierra Club tend to align with Democrats.
It will take people not steeped in a lifelong marriage to an anti-environmental narrative to glimpse outside it, beyond the borders of their myopia; in other words, young Conservatives who have the intellectual energy to scoff at legacy Right attitudes toward preservation of the environment which has unfairly come to synonymize Leftism.
“You have all these groups on the left, and then no groups on the right. That’s the market gap that we fit,” he said. “We are really the first and only grassroots movement in this space.”
Focusing on more optimistic messages of innovation and local solutions can bring new people into the fold, he said, pointing to billionaire Elon Musk as an example of someone being rewarded in the market while reducing carbon emissions by popularizing electric vehicles.
In rural America, there’s a long history of conservation among hunters and fishermen, going back to former President Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican sportsman who founded the national park system, who now feel alienated by the culture of environmentalism and its often abstract goals.
“There are so many parts of this country that could be brought in if you can just make it about their backyards, something they can have personal buy-in,” said Backer, who spent much of last year on a cross-country road trip in a Tesla speaking with local groups. “And with climate change, that’s really easy to do that because it’s going to affect every community in this country.”
Right-wing environmentalism would focus on the feng shui of the community, of the neighborhood’s landscape, and preservation of its cleanliness and orderliness for the sake of our collective mental health and camaraderie. A clean home insinuates a serene, orderly mind. Right-wing environmentalism would also focus on the sustainability of our globe’s natural environment and replacement of the carbon industries with environmentally-friendly industries, or replacement technologies. The smartest and most adaptable businesses will adapt to the new paradigm and prosper, as they should. This will not be about overturning existing economic paradigms; it will be about overturning existing technologies and businesses are free to join the evolution or not. Conservative environmentalism will introduce a Darwinian model of green business transformation, not a rebellious model of conquering traditional models just because they are traditional.
Conservative environmentalism will strive for purity of environmental experience and its essential pacification of the communal mind’s cohesion. Conservative Environmentalism will empower us with a vision of an idyllic physical world, not attack adversaries with self-righteous ultimatums and doomsday hysterics.