The most irritating thing about being a conservative environmentalist is the animosity it generates from both the left and the right. Conservatives think you are a chai tea-drinking socialist, and leftists think you love pollution and hate science.
This awkward polarization never made much sense to me because my entire ideological outlook on the natural world has been the direct result of my conservative and traditionalist views.
The very philosophical foundations of environmentalism are linked more to the conservative heritage than any form of radical leftism. Conserving the environment is by definition conservative. Managing populations and resources is conservative. Leveraging market forces to solve environmental issues is conservative. Preserving the heritage and security of our nation for ourselves and future generations is the fundamental principle of both conservatism and environmentalism, and the fact that the right has disassociated from this endeavour is an unfortunate reminder that many conservatives have lost touch with their own traditions.
The conservative position on the environment has been drastically distorted, because the entire narrative has been controlled by the left through academia and the media for the last few decades. This has ultimately forced the right to adopt an incredibly reactionary stance on any environmental issue. When environmentalism has been turned into another tool for pushing big government and socialist schemes, it’s hard for any conservative to not be, at the very least, somewhat skeptical.
Unfortunately, this skepticism has resulted in an atmosphere of harsh reactivity towards environmental issues, which has done little to build an alternative, conservative environmental platform. There seems to be no issue more prone to brick-walling among conservatives than the environment. The conversation is often plagued with negatives yet offers very few alternatives. “We can’t be supportive of electric cars because X” or “You see we can’t be allowed to support green energy because of X” are some common examples of the negativity of the discourse, and are comprised more of excuses to do nothing than conservative solutions to environmental problems.
This skepticism and general distrust for environmental causes has put the right at an incredible political disadvantage. Not only are we abandoning an issue that is fundamentally ours, we are practically handing over political points to liberal opposition by not trying to reclaim it.
However, recent changes in global political discourse may be providing us with an opportunity to shift the environmental narrative back in to the hands of people who actually care about conservatism in all its forms.
The changes I am referring to is the recent mainstream revelation that the left-right spectrum is a complete charade. Establishment politicians in North America and Europe have been openly exposed as sellouts and hypocrites who serve what can only be described as a “globalist” ideological agenda. They all support open-borders and increased immigration, unmitigated consumerism, collectivization, centralization, and an obsession with trying to solve local problems with “global” solutions.
This can best be seen in Canada's “progressive” conservatism. Many of these “conservatives” seem to have been convinced that moving left is the only viable way forward, and as long as they move “left” slower than the liberals, they are still conservatives. What these poor unfortunate souls fail to understand is that a concession will only produce a further demand, which is why progressive conservatives will never actually “conserve” anything. Any compromise between the right (standing still) and the left (moving rapidly “forward”) is still leftward movement.
Even though we expect the left to be ideologically globalist, the war on nationalist thought has forced conservatism to become “progressive” and exist as nothing more than “Liberal Lite.”
Nationalism, with its focus on certain levels of protectionism, controlled immigration, local solutions, decentralization, and national heritage, is not only fundamentally conservative, it is far more environmentally conscious than globalism in almost every way. The management of immigration helps reduce urban sprawl and rapid environmental decline and supports Canadian industry and "made in Canada" products. Under nationalism, the funding for environmental protection is focused on local and national projects rather than global UN schemes.
The hypocrisy of the globalist establishment is right there in front of you. They say we need to make our environmental footprint smaller, yet they raise immigration rates and refugee acceptance, which in turn increases demand for resources. How can you adamantly demand environmental protection, yet support an immigration policy which results in rapid urban growth, more cars on the road, and a demand for a resource intensive quality of life?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against cars or comfortable lifestyles, but the idea that our standard of living can sustainably be provided to the world’s poor en mass is not only economically unrealistic, it makes no environmental sense whatsoever.
We need to develop policies where security, conservation and responsibility are core tenants. We must focus on defending the natural heritage of our nation and protecting the land, water and air around us by encouraging environmentally conscious actions through market based solutions and sustainable national policy.
It must be made abundantly clear that the moral and philosophical foundation of environmentalism is rooted in true conservative tradition, and that globalist environmental policy is simply a Trojan Horse used to hide increased government control over our lives, and harmful social and economic policies which have no real intention to protect the environment.
While it is true that many conservatives don’t think about the relationship between humanity and the environment, and are sometimes even hostile to the idea, it is now more possible than ever for the right to turn the environmental narrative around and reclaim an issue that is rightfully ours.