I Am Not a Tree Hugger  

Posted by Brock Booher

I am a conservative. I vote for conservative candidates. I am not convinced that the science of global warming is solved, nor do I support a government cap-and-trade system to stem carbon emissions. I am not a tree hugger.

I am not a tree hugger because of the hypocrisy of the environmental elitists. Their do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do attitude has kept me from being as “green” as Kermit the Frog. They fly around on private airplanes drinking bottled water accepting awards for their groundbreaking “documentaries” demanding us to save the planet - So much for leading by example.

Hypocrisy aside, we do face some serious environmental challenges that threaten other species as well as our way of life. We have been poor stewards of a glorious world bursting with resources that have enhanced and enriched our lives. We have failed to care for Mother Earth and have treated her like an aging and senile mother that only deserves to be locked away in a retirement home and visited occasionally with token gifts of appreciation.

If we don’t do a better job, she is going to write both liberals and conservatives out of her will.

I am not a tree hugger, yet I care deeply about our planet and the health of our environment. I believe that conservatives can save the planet.

In the North Pacific Gyre a huge mass of debris and trash floats along swirling like some large cosmic galaxy of garbage. The currents of the North Pacific act as a gravitational pull that cause the planets of refuse to be sucked into this black hole of trash. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is estimated to be larger than the state of Texas, and it is growing.

Who is responsible for this trash catastrophe? We all are.

On average, each person generates almost 500 kilograms of waste per year. This river of rubbish is not always controlled or contained and ends up as flotsam in our streams, rivers, and eventually our oceans. Some of that litter will end up as a constellation in that galaxy of garbage in the Pacific.

As a conservative, I don’t think the problem can be solved by government decree, or through some fancy new cap and trade scheme, but it can be solved by the very people that created it – Us. Since we created the problem, we can fix it. We may not relate to saving the rain forest or feel empowered enough to stop global warming, but each of us has the power to control the trash of the world in three easy steps – Control, Reduce, and Inspire.

Our first step is to take personal responsibility for our own trash and control its disposal. The Boy Scouts have a camping policy – Leave no trace behind. We should adopt that policy in our daily lives when it comes to trash. We make sure that we leave no trace of trash behind us in our daily activities. We must control every single item of debris that we generate, right down to the smallest candy wrapper. We must never litter.

Next we should examine our daily habits and reduce the amount of waste that we create. How many things do we send off to the landfill that could be reused or recycled? If each of us recycled at least ten percent of our waste, we would reduce the amount of waste by over 15 billion kilograms of waste each year in the United States alone. Every piece of trash that we recycle is one less star in that swirling cesspool in the Pacific.

More important than regulating, reusing, or recycling, is our attitude. A conscientious attitude is contagious. If we display a genuine caring attitude towards our Mother Earth, others around us will also become more aware. We don’t have to preach some self-righteous doctrine of environmental elitism. We don’t need to browbeat our neighbors into to ecological submission. We simply need to start with our own individual actions and make our attitude contagious. Some will follow our example.

We can clean up our yard. We can clean up our street. We can clean up our neighborhood. We can clean up our city. Every piece of trash that is left to blow in the breeze or float along a waterway will eventually end up spoiling a vista or damaging a habitat. If each of us were to pick up one errant piece of trash a day, our world would be more beautiful and livable. It doesn’t take a mandate from the United Nations, it only takes the courage of one individual to act.

Future generations deserve a healthy world to live in. We owe them that much. Hypocritical environmental elitism will not accomplish the task. Individual responsibility will.

Before we set out to save the rain forest, let’s try cleaning up our own backyard.

This entry was posted on Saturday, June 12, 2010 at Saturday, June 12, 2010 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


I agree that no one should litter. Ugly habit, but I don't think the garbage patch is something to worry about. It could more accurately be described as a detectable increase in microscopic polymer particles.

June 12, 2010 at 9:20 PM
This comment has been removed by the author.
June 15, 2010 at 10:10 AM

A circling patch of garbage roughly the size of Texas doesn't worry you? The point is that most problems, no matter the size, start at the individual level. We must control them at that same level. I can reduce my impact on the environment without a government decree.

(Note the previous post was mine, but had a typo :) )

June 15, 2010 at 10:12 AM

The only people who can protest domestic drilling for oil are those that only ride bikes, walk or go by train.

The biggest impact one individual can have on reducing global warming is to become a vegetarian- so anyone that 'cares' about the environment to the point of winning a Nobel Peace Prize should be a vegetarian.

And lastly, if you give a hoot don't pollute. :)

June 16, 2010 at 12:38 PM

Post a Comment