As a young person, I expect my legislators to make decisions that safeguard our beloved wild places. I am dismayed that this year’s spending bill contains policy “riders” which would slash the Clean Water Rule, weaken the Endangered Species Act, and allow for clear-cut logging of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest! I commend the legislators who are championing environmental protection policies, but I struggle to understand the belief held by other members of Congress that we must sacrifice environmental health for our economy’s well-being. New business models prove that economics and environmentalism go hand-in-hand. For example, renewable energy companies create thousands of jobs, achieve energy independence, and keep our air and water clean.
I’m not saying that all logging, mining and other extractive activities be outlawed; I acknowledge that these are a livelihood for many families. However, I do support moving away from overly intensive resource extraction in favor of ecologically-conscious and profitable alternatives.
I want to emphasize the importance of bridging the gap between liberal and conservative thinkers. Why not focus on finding common ground, on the values that we do share, instead of on all the things we disagree upon? The world will be a kinder place as a result.