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Conservatives and the environment

April 24, 2007

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I’ve got some conservative friends visiting for the week, and in honor of Earth Day yesterday, we got into a discussion about conservation. I made a trip to Home Depot to pick up a free compact fluorescent lightbulb. Heard some snickering. Then I packed up my two week’s worth of recycling and put it out on the curb (along with the measly 6% of my fellow Philadelphians) More snickering.

I was raised in a conservative, religious family in a midwest state, so I know their angle on the issues:

GUN CONTROL: They’re avid hunters. They don’t want the government to take their hunting rifles away. I ask why hunters need semi automatic handguns, but I can see their side.

ABORTION: They’re religious. They feel for the unborn child. I’m on the other side, but I can relate.

WELFARE: They work hard and they believe everyone else should. I agree to a point, but argue that not everyone has the means that they have, and besides; welfare costs a fraction of what is spent on the military. Which brings me to…

DEFENSE SPENDING AND THE WAR: Yeah, they think we’re gonna be invaded by Commies any day now, so we have to give all our money to the war machine to “protect” us. Reagan and the warmongers before and after him have been spewing this nonsense forever, so I guess some Americans just start to believe it.

But this is the one I really have trouble with:

CONSERVATION: For the life of me I just can’t find ANY legitimate argument as to why a middle class American wouldn’t want to conserve our earth’s resources… I can see why maybe a lobbyist for big oil or the auto industry is against it- if the government forces stricter penalties on polluters, and I own a power plant, I’m going to have to upgrade my equipment to make it burn cleaner, and that cuts into my bottom line.
These corporations pay the Republicans the big bucks to vote in their favor, so we all know why Bush and co. pretend that global warming doesn’t exist. It’s against their best interest, which is basically MONEY.

But what happened to my relatives and conservative friends back home? How’d these law abiding middle-class Americans get brainwashed into thinking that trees are bad and sprawl is good? Since when did it become the norm to discount science, research, and just plain common sense?

Ahh, I’ve got it. Right wing talk radio. Limbaugh.
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My dear conservative friends and family: Could you maybe just humor me and go along with the scientific research, just in case it’s true? Would it hurt to recycle, or plant a tree, or walk to the store? For my children’s sake?

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