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Eco-conservatism and the New Religious Right

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Eco-Conservatism and the New Religious Right

Typically during the last 30 years or so in America, it has been vogue to position oneself against all forms of ecology and conservation in an effort to protect that antiquated notion that the earth was made for "man" and is his for the taking. From the White House on down to the small town bars, people across America can be heard to say, "Global warming? What global warming?" and then proceed to illustrate their scientific knowledge by offering ice storms in Southern California or a cold day in Omaha as evidence against such change. Forget the fact that decade-long trends in global precipitation patterns or a century-long trend in CO2 output have correlated with recent increases in global temperatures: that means nothing to the cowboys on the barstool or in the White House.

Interestingly enough, however, I have discovered a religious-based, evangelical institution that supports - against everything we have come to expect from American religious institutions - conservationism. Imagine that: putting the "conserve" back into conservative! (

In a PBS documentary Moyers on America: Is God Green? we are finding a new trend in the conservation movement dubbed "biblical environmentalism" where activists such as Richard Cizak, a leader in the National Association of Evangelicals are supporting protecting the environment ( Where this right-wing activism will lead is uncertain, yet it bodes well that members of the far religious-right are siding with environmentalists in attempting to protect our planet from potential problems such as human-induced climate change and the loss of natural habitat to human expansion.

As long as there are advocates from the other side, though, promoting their millennia-old argument that "man was given dominion over everything on the earth" progress in the green movement - even with some evangelical support - is tenuous at best. Let us work, then, toward mending the bridges between the political left and right so that - regardless of one's position on social issues - we can all agree that protecting our environment is an economic issue that transcends nearly all other debates. It will be interesting, nonetheless, to see where this movement leads in the next 10, 20, 30 years from now . . . and beyond.

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