May 21, 2016

Confessions of a conservative environmentalist

Alexander WalshRebel Blogger

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.


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commented 2016-05-27 12:57:17 -0400
Andrew, I don’t accept the premise “that many conservatives don’t think about the relationship between humanity and the environment” which is basically the core tenet of your article. As someone familiar with Canada’s regulatory process I can tell you that we adopt the highest standards of environmental protectionism, probably in the world. However, rationality dictates that we don’t need to multiply needless entities beyond necessity. When conservatives resist additional regulatory rules and bodies, we see the multiplication of needless entities, and in a practical sense, we see taxpayer dollars being used solely for appearances, virtue signalling, and ‘feel-goodery.’ We support common-sense regulations because we love the environment, and we don’t divorce humanity from it as you seem to posit; humanity and environmentalism are intertwined.

Conservative pushback against environmentalist movements are because those movements are corruptible, luddist, and incompatible with progress. Conservatives aren’t against the electric car—they’re against being forced to buy electric cars, rather than letting free market and supply-side economics develop the demand for electric cars. We don’t like solar and wind energy because they inefficient and gasp bad for the environment (not to mention an eyesore on said environment), at least in their current iterations. We aren’t anti-scientific, despite being called that from a progressive left who feel that gender identity negates biology. Saying “evidence based policy” does not make it so. The evidence shows that cultures that embrace technological progress advance and become far better off than those who won’t, don’t or cannot. They also have cleaner enviroments—go to the River Ganges and tell me how clean it is.

You seem to equate environmentalism with this concept of ‘green’ conservation, painting a picture postcard scenario. Of course we want to protect our land, our water etc.; not doing so would be self-destructive. But where does it say we have to provide our standard of living to the rest of the world? And how is our standard of living unsustainable? Especially in Canada, where have a surfeit of resources? Are you suggesting we raise the standards for others at cost to ourselves? Most common sense governments know that economic and technological prosperity is the only means to moving to this standard. The word “unsustainable” is as defeatist as it gets, and while resources may be limited, innovation is always happening, and the markets will bear out the successes and failures. Our standard of living is not only sustainable, it will reach new paradigms. And it won’t be lefty enviromental groups or the hand of goverment that makes that possible; it will be done at the behest of innovators, enabled by the technologies and knowledge-base preceding it, and likely produced en masse by an ‘evil’ corporation. In the meantime, if you want vistas, Canada is composed mostly of unadulterated nature; it doesn’t take much to go out and enjoy it. A bit buggy this time of year though, bring some deet.
commented 2016-05-25 12:28:30 -0400
Andrew “shouldn’t that be your choice?”

Your choice to support assisted suicide and euthanasia without knowing you’re supporting it? Did you read the whole sentence, or did your self-righteous progressive sense tingle.

“Don’t want to use it? Don’t, but don’t tell others what to do.”

A) You just told us what to do, hypocrite
B) By this logic we should get rid of interventions

Good old, progs. Moving toward a horizon without any destination. “Let’s do something for no reason! Sure the universe will return to nothing and none of this matters at all, but let’s be comfortable while we do wait for pointless oblivion!” Talk about a fragile worldview that has no reason for existing. There’s some mythology for you.
commented 2016-05-25 12:09:02 -0400
Unless India or China changes, every environmentalist in the western world needs to shut up. I have no patience for armchair activists or those who refer to deal with the elephant in the room. I don’t waste what I have and that’s all I can do. Stop beating me over the head and deal with the real problem. You can’t get blood fro a stone, but how about those fat sacks of flesh over in India and China? Why do environmentalists refuse to go over there? Until they do, I will continue to ignore their whining.
commented 2016-05-24 18:56:35 -0400
The left are not conservationists, they’re prohibitionists an Malthusian elitists. They are not socially r environmentally progressive but regressive. They are not liberal they are illiberal. They are not altruistic they are greedy and entitled. They are also intolerant, narrow minded, despotic and treacherous. The left ARE pretty much everything thing they pretend to be against.
commented 2016-05-24 18:11:31 -0400
Well yes philosophically, conservatives believe in being careful with our resources, which is why most of us have great resource use records. I hate being hot, so I shut off the heat from April to October in my home. I couldn’t be bothered with a bright green lawn, so I don’t water all summer.

So while we reject green socialism, our own behaviour strives to make the most of resources. Commune type systems create the opposite. They notoriously mismanage and waste resources. The Soviet Union is a great example of that.
commented 2016-05-22 23:01:50 -0400
Gavin McInnes nailed it when he said I don’t believe in immigration or socialism because I’m an environmentalist.

This an important point that is not brought up enough and why Naomi Klein is full of shit. Great article!
commented 2016-05-22 16:45:42 -0400
“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.”

“Humanity” is to often used by those who are arrogantly egotistical, really interested in only serving themselves and looking good to their like-minded colleagues.

“rightfully ours” fits is such a category as well

While ALEXANDER WALSH has some, not all, good ideas, expressing them is non-self serving pragmatic manner would be something a conservative would do, and in a generalized context, and not a special interest “environmentalism” manner, where serving their interest (and ego) results in everything else coming second place
commented 2016-05-22 16:02:27 -0400
“They are unknowingly buying memberships into this program which is supporting ASSISTED SUICIDE and EUTHANASIA” Jan G – shouldn’t that be your choice? I don’t see why anybody, ever, would be against having the option available for those that desire it. Don’t want to use it? Don’t, but don’t tell others what to do.

“Deborah Graupner commented 8 hours ago
Man was not tasked with controlling the world’s population. It is goes against what God told man, and that was to be fruitful and multiply. "

Goal achieved. I don’t know if the prophets that wrote the Christian mythology had any idea of the degree to which we’d breed, and certainly the concept of overpopulation was not broadly known at the time. This particular bit of advice is deeply anachronistic.
commented 2016-05-22 12:17:09 -0400
You know, you can repeat the “we musts” and “we need tos…” and the “we shoulds” to your heart’s content, but it isn’t going to change this fact, which you duly noted:

“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.”

Unfortunately, the apparatus of our Conservative parties is infected with too many career politicians devoid of principle or position, lefty poli-sci grads, and fart-suckers… from top to bottom. I’ve come to the realization that this simply cannot be changed. I’ll be voting Libertarian from now on; although I realize that single-issue old pot-heads and concealed-carry nuts are probably a bit over-represented in the party ranks. At least they recognize that the number one threat to liberty is too much government. And that’s all that this climate-change bullshit is – a wonderful opportunity for the expansion of government size and influence.
commented 2016-05-22 11:38:39 -0400
“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…..”
I can’t agree with that sentiment Alexander Walsh. On the contrary, I think conservatives are more in tune with the balance between humanity and the environment than anyone else. You ever talk to a hunter about that relationship? There are no better conservationists.
Its the left who have this notion that the environment touched by humanity is forever ruined. It seems to me that they are the ones who don’t understand the “relationship between humanity and the environment”. If they did they would understand that everyone agrees that ‘soiling’ your own nest is never a good thing, but that there is a difference between that and actually irreparably damaging the earth’s balance. To use that falsehood to make policy which does actually effect the balance between the environment and humanity is the problem, not using in a conscientious way all that the planet has to offer.
commented 2016-05-22 11:17:14 -0400
Don’t know of any conservative sane in his own mind , that like to pollute , or drink beige water, or burn gasoline for the fun of it, or litter trash all over the place, but all the eco-liars non sense is unbearable, for them there is just no room for human being and the rest of the eco-system living matter ,, plants or animals, we, the human being, must vanish move out of earth,
commented 2016-05-22 08:26:59 -0400
Man was not tasked with controlling the world’s population. It is goes against what God told man, and that was to be fruitful and multiply.
commented 2016-05-22 03:33:17 -0400
Cancer rates have spiked, and isn’t it wonderful? Childhood disease, indoor air pollution, starvation, and other frequent sources of death-before-your-time have been eradicated in our society and people live long enough for cancer to be a risk for most of us. And you want to go back to food poverty – if all food were produced in the organic (and anti-GMO seeding) methods promoted by some then the carrying capacity of the earth is about 1 billion. That means that if you’re married and have four kids, only one of the six of you should survive (6 billion on earth now, only 1 billion have enough food with what you’re promoting = 5 billion must die before their time). Which of the six do you choose John? Are you willing to do the killing yourself, perhaps picking straws? Or are you going to let poor people with other skin colours do all of the dying for you? These are the same people who would benefit from the golden rice you so cavalierly dismiss. If you saw the faces of those you are condemning to die, be malnourished, or go blind, would you still be so flippant? Trade is good. Wealth creation is good. Jobs are good. Food is good.

The reason many on the political right don’t consider themselves environmentalists is that the word has been taken to mean those who think that humanity is not part of the environment, and that the environment should be considered more important than the people who live within it. NIMBY (not in my back-yard) and BANANA (build absolutely nothing, anytime, near anything) tend to think this way. The term “environmentalist” has been corrupted in the same way that the term “gay” was. If you look at a group of gay activists do you see a bunch of lighthearted and happy people? I sure don’t. Those who have appropriated the term have twisted it into the opposite of its original meaning (in both cases, in my opinion).

By the way John, Ezra didn’t write this. It says on the byline that it was written by Alexander Walsh. If you’re going to call someone to task for what is written here at least get the name right.
commented 2016-05-21 23:27:56 -0400
There are many conservatives, liberals, libertarians and social democrats that believe like I do that cancer rates have spiked and GMO foods play a part in that. People on here fail to realize that globalism in the long run is harmful for the nation. The nation would be better off growing their own natural foods and providing food for the nation in grocery stores without globalized free trade because many that have subscribed to large and overreaching free trade agreements have eventually seen health standards deteriorate because of using American-made products and basically unhealthy foods. We all know of the GMO processed foods which cause people to become bloated. We all know that eating habits have consequences and that is why Rebel cannot be trusted. They do not report on cancer rates spiking all over the West. They are not consistent and on globalism they have shown to support vaccines universally like any mainstream liberal or social democrat. They also pick environmentalism in their own narrow way without realizing you can support oil industries but a balanced approach. To me, it is posturing. Canadians deserve unity and even on the issue of rice you can have organic rice being sent and there is a falsehood about yields being improved by GMO. The fact is organic is better for the overall environment.
commented 2016-05-21 23:18:10 -0400
How can Levant claim to be against globalism when globalism means free trade and selling things overseas and selling out sovereignty of the nation. That is something Turner spoke of and Liberals were not sincere because nowadays Liberals, Conservatives and the NDP will not remove NAFTA and the free trade agreements which followed. The fact is you can be of assistance to people in third-world nations and this golden rice is another GMO product and GMO is not safe for people in the long run. It causes cancer and there are links to deteriorating of people’s health from such foods. Conservatives if they believed in such foods would or should support labeling because people do deserve to know what people put into their bodies. What does Rebel have to say about Russia and the BRICS nations and many European nations being against GMO and Monsanto. I see nothing on that front from Rebel. They claim to be against globalism and environmentalism but they will want overreaching free trade and Monsanto to control seeds all over the world. It sounds to me that Rebel is proving what I have said all along that they want corporate ownership of everything and that means very few companies owning everything which is a form of oligarchy. Canadians should be outraged also about GMOs being completely on shelves even in holistic food stores. Prior to 1994, whole foods and natural foods were the norm because we did not entirely follow the US agenda. Rebel also probably wants steroid meats and the unnatural US milk which is cheaper but less healthy. Which is why when you go into globalism meaning unregulated capitalism and unrestricted and overreaching free trade health and safety take a back seat and it leads to oligarchy, something Rebel claims to support but they have shown they are globalists just in a different form. I believe in all natural foods.
commented 2016-05-21 19:33:32 -0400
Excellent article by the way.
commented 2016-05-21 19:19:29 -0400
Anyone who has taken a walk in the woods, gone fishing, hunting, hiking or played golf appreciates the environment. Conservatives are all of the above. While it’s true that conservatives let the lefties lead the parade for far too long and now find themselves on the defensive and trying to yank back the pendulum. They will need reasonable alternatives to do that. One of my personal pet peaves is that I could drink the purest water on the planet pouring down the mountain side but when I drove home 2 hours away, I was told not to eat too many fish out of that same water. We got the warnings but never heard that anything was being done about it. I’m all for farmers but I know the reason was because all along the way cattle are allowed to wander into the lakes as well excessive fertilizers and pesticides pour in with runoff. It’s an unfortunate fact that agriculture has polluted more water and soil than all other industries combined. Perhaps we can put some practical heads together to fix things like this instead of worrying so much about natural events we can’t control.
commented 2016-05-21 19:07:13 -0400
Good article. Maybe we can move it from a left vs right argument to a reality that either do care about the environment no matter what the politics. The problem with the “anti-human cult of athropogenic global warming” is that they fail to recognize that we came a long way for clean air and water because of people like Patrick Moore, who did not go on to become a total zealot like Gore and Suzuki. Greenpeace and The Sierra Club became huge conglomerate lobbyist groups relying on government. That is how the environmental issue morphed into liberal mania. Liberals obviously have no faith and no faith in the human race. Me, I believe that when most of us know better we do better. People continually make improvements on things. i.e. Petroleum engineers have had to make better because of environmental scrutiny and regulations because of ecologists like Moore.
commented 2016-05-21 16:51:15 -0400
Guy, I think the article agrees with you! – to me it was a “devils’ advocate” position taken to make the same conclusion you say. Then listening to Patrick Moore’s talk – reinforced the reality.
commented 2016-05-21 16:41:18 -0400
Let me quote from Euthanasia Prevention Coalition site:

“The Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) under the leadership of Moses Znaimer, the former owner of CITY TV, has officially become an advocacy group promoting unfettered euthanasia. According to an article by Gloria Galloway in the Globe and Mail, Susan Eng, the long-time Executive Vice President of CARP was fired by Moses Znaimer based on her neutral position on euthanasia and assisted suicide and replaced by Wanda Morris, the former CEO of Dying With Dignity.

…Znaimer has been promoting a radical pro-euthanasia position for some time. He his written one-sided propaganda articles urging “euthanasia on demand.” Znaimer also wrote an article misconstruing the Bentley case in BC, a case that concerned the issue of whether normal feeding is medical treatment."

Susan Eng said “she has been dismissed by media mogul Moses Znaimer, who is also the organization’s president, because she insisted on taking a neutral approach to the emotionally charged issue of assisted dying.
… The only reason he fired me was so that they can put out an official position for CARP saying that they want to insist on assisted dying on demand,” said Ms. Eng, a Toronto lawyer and former chair of the city’s police services board.”

EZRA: beware of wolves wearing sheep’s clothing. Moses Znaimer has an agenda and it is not for our benefit. He is seductively luring seniors who are believing CARP is to provide them with travel, social, insurance, health, etc. benefits. They are unknowingly buying memberships into this program which is supporting ASSISTED SUICIDE and EUTHANASIA. Many members of CARP are not renewing their memberships due to this recent happening.
commented 2016-05-21 14:17:01 -0400
I completely disagree with you assumptions.

Most conservatives I know believe in Conservation.

Only a closet Liberal would say otherwise. Liberals have joined in lock step with the anti human cult of athropogenic global warming and their agenda to depopulate the earth by over taxing the productive and poor leaving the elites to lavish in a depopulated planet.

I have been studying the geopolitical environmental movement for over 30 years starting from an advocate position and now represent actual scientific endeavor to reduce reuse repair and recycle resources efficiently to enable all of humanity to thrive while mitigating adverse effects to nature and preserve habitat for all species. I’ll give you time to study up if you care to debate.