Not only can Republicans be green, it turns out a lot of them are. Check out Republicans for Environmental Protection, an organization with this mission statement —
Republicans for Environmental Protection was founded in 1995
to resurrect the GOP’s great conservation tradition
and to restore natural resource conservation and sound environmental protection
as fundamental elements of the Republican Party’s vision for America
Stereotyping Gets in the Way of Green Action
One positive message coming from both sides in this year’s presidential campaign is the need for change. Our Federal government isn’t getting things done because of partisan politics, with each party characterizing the other by its most extreme elements — in other words, stereotyping. This kind of communication leads people to dig in their heels, become combative, stop listening, and stop communicating. Political discourse has devolved into special interest advocates reciting a familiar litany of charges against the opposition. Not an atmosphere where things get done.
Why Is Washington Stuck in the Mud?
We can blame our political leaders for the quagmire, but who are our leaders except a reflection of us? We, the electorate, are the ones who have become entrenched and inflamed. If politicians reflect our mood, it may because they’ve figured out it gets them elected.
The environmental movement will get nowhere by drawing lines in the sand, by framing issues as an us-versus-them battle. If we’ve learned anything the last ten years or so, it’s that this kind of approach leads to nothing but ill will and gridlock.
The fact is, just about everyone favors a safe and healthy environment. Our reasons for favoring it may differ, and our approaches to environmental problems obviously do differ, but if we keep in mind we agree on the goal, it becomes a whole lot easier to talk about where we disagree and make true progress.
Don’t Look Now, but Change Is Already Here
Some might take comfort in their familiar stereotypes. But I think we can take more comfort in reality. Republicans can be green. T. Boone Pickens, whose name is synonymous with big oil, has become the nation’s biggest advocate of wind power. Big, nasty old corporations are reinvigorating the U.S. manufacturing sector through technological innovation, a good deal of it aimed at developing more fuel efficient engines and renewable energy sources.
The world’s not perfect by any means. But change is already here. Environmental awareness is spreading at the grassroots level. Whatever their political stripe, folks who never gave a thought to the environment are now supercharged to do something about it.
Business, being more efficient than government, has already picked up on the signals and is beginning to reorient operations, product development, and overall strategy in response to public demand. Take heart! We’re ahead of our leaders. We don’t need a particular person in the White House to create change. We’ve already created it.