, Newburyport, MA


September 21, 2013

Column: Republicans need to bolster their environmental credentials


From Wikipedia: “In 1871, after Muir had lived in Yosemite for three years, Emerson, with a number of academic friends from Boston, arrived in Yosemite during a tour of the Western United States. The two men met, and according to Tallmadge, ‘Emerson was delighted to find at the end of his career the prophet-naturalist he had called for so long ago... And for Muir, Emerson’s visit came like a laying on of hands.’”

I know that feeling: shortly after moving to Massachusetts, we took our first pilgrimage to Walden Pond. Emerson, Thoreau, the early Transcendentalists: This was home. So, for Lance, was the Happy Valley when he attended UMass Amherst; he rafted on the Connecticut River, went rock climbing with his state senator, John Olver. This personal sport became one reason he now lives in the West, where he went to climb Cathedral Peak in Yosemite.

Unfortunately, while in the Happy Valley, he also picked up liberal ideas that seemed to displace the anti-government part of Thoreau’s “Walden.” So here we are, cancelling out each other’s votes for president, though I have hope that this will change if Rand Paul runs in 2016.

Here is why this family history is important in the larger scheme made up of many voters who in the end, won’t cancel each other out; they’ll elect the next president, who must be a big improvement over the present one. The environment is one issue on which the Republican Party gets a bad rap; this unfair image helps turn off voters who should at least be independent instead of Democrat.

If you watched Ken Burns’ series on the National Parks, you know that Republican president Theodore Roosevelt created five national parks (doubling the previously existing number); signed the landmark Antiquities Act and used its special provisions to unilaterally create 18 national monuments, including the Grand Canyon; set aside 51 federal bird sanctuaries, four national game refuges, and more than 100 million acres’ worth of national forests.

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