In the 20th century, Republicans and conservatives advocated for conservation. Republican President Theodore Roosevelt said “Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”

Republican President Richard Nixon, founder of the EPA, said “Our physical nature, our mental health, our culture and institutions, our opportunities for challenge and fulfillment, our very survival — all of these are directly related to and affected by the environment in which we live. They depend upon the continued healthy functioning of the natural systems of the Earth.”

Even Republican President Ronald Reagan, who was not an environmentalist, spoke of the importance of environmental protection. “If we’ve learned any lessons during the past few decades, perhaps the most important is that preservation of our environment is not a partisan challenge; it’s common sense. Our physical health, our social happiness and our economic well-being will be sustained only by all of us working in partnership as thoughtful, effective stewards of our natural resources.”

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, a panel with members from 132 nations including the United States, issued a report in May. The report was prepared by nearly 150 authors, from 50 nations, working over a three-year period. Representatives of all 132 member nations signed off on the findings.

The report concluded that 1 million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction, with alarming implications for human survival, due to man-made climate change and other human activities. The authors noted that more plants and animals are threatened with extinction now than in any other point in human history. The panel’s chairman noted the “decline in biodiversity is eroding ‘the foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.’” The report found that the natural world is collapsing around us, but also that it’s not too late to make a difference. However, that difference will require more than 100 nations to work together, including the United States.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998, and the four warmest years on record have all occurred since 2014. For people who seem not to trust scientists who are unknown to them, hopefully Bill Nye the Science Guy will be compelling. He recently noted on a TV talk show that climate change is an actual crisis.

Through a combination of intentional disinformation, misinformation, shortsightedness, and mistrust too many people have been lulled into inaction, and worse hostility, toward responding to the climate crisis. We’re decades late to the fight, but not too late to attempt to stem some of the worst effects of climate change. The wolf is at the door. And the future is not ours to squander.

Kirk Becchi lives in Rockingham.

(25) comments

Harvey Yoder

In spite of Biblical instructions to care for our God-given bodies and for the earth we humans inhabit, we are now to ignore those mandates and let God take care of keeping us healthy and the world habitable, according to some writers on this thread. Great! This relieves me of any responsibility for my having bypass surgery done next week as scheduled. After all, God must have caused it and/or it's a totally unavoidable thing anyway, so its up to God to take care of it. What a relief not to have to undergo any major surgery! Meanwhile, I can indulge in all the Big Macs and french fries I want, and maybe take up smoking, too, for good measure.

prodigalson

Oh Harvey, stop being so melodramatic. No one wants dirty air, dirty water, a dirty environment, etc., amd yes, we should all be concerned about protecting God’s creation. It’s just that some of us understand when we are being used as political pawns, and some of us don’t. Unfortunately, I fear that you fall into the latter category.

hbdansby

Republicans have attacked the EPA and environmental regulations relentlessly for decades, even though Nixon was the one that signed the landmark environmental legislation of the 1970’s. Now that climate change is center stage, Republicans are quick to support “clean air and water,” but what they do not support is reducing greenhouse gases, because they think there is no viable substitute for oil, gas and coal. Instead of saying what I just said, they deny the climate change problem, ascribing all sorts of conspiratorial motives to those that advocate action on the climate problem.

Programmer

Dear Mr. Yoder, you make a good point about taking care of our bodies and the Earth. We are personally responsible for our bodies and how we treat them. We also should strive to do the best we can regarding the subduing of the Earth. But it is a stretch to go beyond that and I'll ask a question. How is the Earth during the Millenial Reign? I often wonder how those who are caught up will ever repair the Earth if it is so destroyed by those left behind if God is not watching out for His creation.

prodigalson

By the way Harvey, I hope and pray that your bypass surgery goes well next week. I've known many folks who have gone through the procedure, and in many cases, after they fully recover, they feel better than they have felt in years. I sincerely hope and pray that that is the case with you.

Harvey Yoder

Thanks for your kind words, friend.

prodigalson

You are very welcome.

Whalebroc

Ahhhhh, yes. The alarmists quoting some Republican statements about natural responsible conservation efforts.....another alarmist prediction of all animals will be gone in X years (check their other previous extinction predictions), NOAA......and drum roll please...…………Bill Nye??!!!??????? Now, that group is just a tent short of being a 3 Ring Circus!!

hbdansby

According to Whalebroc, all negative or “alarmist”predictions turn out to be wrong. I wonder what the scorecard on positive or optimistic predictions looks like?

Whalebroc

HBDansby, simply open your eyes (and mind) and look at the decrease of poverty, famine, disease, etc. The enrichment of the world is growing faster than anyone (especially the Doomster Alarmers) ever predicted. The poorest of the poor have more than most kings had just 150 years ago. Our bigger concern in this country is obesity.....not starvation. Come down from the ledge and walk among the normal folks for once.

hbdansby

Have your acquaintances noticed you have taken on more depth, flexibility and wisdom in recent years, and have you disclosed to them that you owe it to the hard training you have gotten from a couple of online bloggers? As I suspected, you give a high batting average to the positive predictions, but a near zero batting average for the negative predictions. The liberal or progressive mind understands that this year’s yard of grass is not the same as last year’s, and that different weeds and infestations will have to be dealt with. The conservative mind is less worried. He wants to preserve the status quo, which, sadly, cannot be done because new problems are always arising. When the liberal points out the problems, the conservative accuses him of being alarmist, doomsaying, negative. I have always been the first to acknowledge the standard of living of the ordinary person today is higher than that of kings of old by virtue of modern technologies and energy systems, mainly cheap and abundant fossil fuels. But there is a yin and yang to everything. The more we elevate our standard of living, the more we tend to degrade the natural environment. This is inevitable, but the degree to which we do so is dependent on our environmental policies. If man takes himself out of nature, he must take pains to minimize the damage he does to nature. Otherwise, he loses his “feedstock” and also degrades his enjoyment of life. The first set of downsides of modernity to the environment was encapsulated in the environmental movement of the early 1970’s. This was largely an American movement. The second major downside has been climate change, a real bad problem, because it is slow moving and requires changing out an energy system that made us what we are today. (People thought that nuclear energy would push us beyond digging, drilling and burning, but it did not turn out that way, although it could have.) Thanks to the whalebrocs and Billnonymouses of the world, we did not tackle this second genre of environmental problem. This environmental failure has been largely an American failure.

Whalebroc

Dear Enlightened Dansby, Just fess up and admit you are the classical Luddite. Many lib/progs do not like progress and are of the Malthusian mindset....that's okay and is your opinion. Embrace it all you want if that's what you want. Again, just look at reality to get your facts straight on your own back yard; but quit trying to own and run everyone else's yard.

LVW

Two things that don't help: (1) Steadfastly denying climate change is happening. That's just wingnut talk. (2) Stating that ignoring it will result in the destruction of the planet. The planet will adapt, but we might not like the way it does.

hbdansby

American conservatives tend toward literalism. If the scientific community migrates from “global warming” to “climate change,” the conservatives think it is some sort of admission of error. If a politician concerned about climate change says climate change will destroy the planet, the American conservative is not capable of understanding that this does not mean the planet will be blown to smithereens.

sbsheridan

A beautifully written piece! Thank you, Mr. Becchi. Concern or lack of concern for the environment does not belong to one political party or another. Let's recognize the epidemics of asthma, the failing crops and famines, the erosion of barrier reefs and the flooding of coastal areas. Regulations may look onerous at the local level, but look beyond the complaints to understand the good they are intended to do.

hbdansby

Can you imagine any Republican today saying what Nixon and Reagan are quoted in the article as saying? So, the question is why have Republicans become so anti environmental? (Crazies, start your engines!)

mattnamyj

The crazy engine is obviously already started. No such thing as man made climate change. It's human arrogance to even think humans could change the heavens and earth. I guess the point is if the chicken little's cry the same tears enough someone will start to believe them!

hbdansby

It is not a matter of arrogance to look at the physics to determine whether man is affecting the climate. Our activities are either enough to affect it, or not. Perhaps you are approaching this from a religious point of view, whereby you associate the weather, atmosphere, clouds, things up above the earth, with the heavens and therefore God. In such case, you figure God is in control of those things and it would be arrogant for man to think he could change it. A little thought will make you realize that if God is in control, he is in control of everything, not just stuff “up above.” This means He is in control of the rivers, lakes, oceans, land and all processes on earth and the universe. Do you think it is arrogant to believe man can pollute our rivers, lakes, oceans and soil? On the other hand, if you use the term “arrogant” in a loose sense that it is “unlikely” that man could be so powerful as to affect the whole plan via the climate system, consider the following. Man is not just a part on nature. Man is now “technological man,” such that his actions are magnified by organizing and coordinating the efforts of millions of people and by the technologies he has developed, from vehicles to earth moving machines to the Internet. Have you seen one of those photos of the earth at night? Puny man has been able to illuminate half the globe, not to mention that he has satellites orbiting the earth to take those photos. On the specific subject of climate change, puny man has managed to dig up, drill and then burn trillions of barrels and trilllions of tons of oil and coal over 200 years, releasing those emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere where they have stayed and accumulated. The result has been to increase the concentration of CO2 from 280 ppm to 415 ppm, which has correspondingly increased the amount of heat from the sun absorbed by the atmosphere and oceans. The increased energy content of the oceans and atmosphere change the climate, and not for the better.

Programmer

Physics says CO2 doesn't add energy to the atmosphere.

R B Tate

You are so charming, Arch Bishop. And still pretending to be an intellectual of sorts. What is the proper term? Swedo intellectual? Siouxdoux intellectual?

hbdansby

Would you be able to recognize an intellectual if you saw one?

R B Tate

No, I can’t say for sure; will have to do some guessing. Could a real, card-carrying intellectual be some of those pioneers of the modern watermelon environmental movement? Like Ted Kaczynski, or the fellow who started earth day, Ira Einhorn?

LVW

RB: I might not like your politics, but I do like your sense of humor.

hbdansby

Since the definition of an “intellectual” is variable, your assessment is as good as any. Naturally, I would take issue with the pseudo part.

prodigalson

LOL. “Arch Bishop”. I like that handle.

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