More Conservative Environmentalism: Newt Gingrich

newt.jpgA book on the environment by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (and Terry Maple): A Contract With the Earth. I haven’t read it yet (unlikely to be in bookstores in Bucharest any time soon) but it looks like a good read. Here is the beginning of chapter one, which is on Amazon’s site:

Whether we like it or not, humanity has assumed responsibility for the welfare of the earth and all the noble creatures that share it. The scale of human civilization, the volume of our economic activity, and the power of science and technology have made us shapers of much of the earth. The power to shape leads inevitably to a responsibility to wield this power wisely and carefully. America, as the world’s sole superpower, is obligated to provide environmental leadership at a time when so many world leaders are wringing their hands at the sheer enormity of the task.

Americans know that shaping a healthy environment is the one challenge that eclipses all others. Without a green and productive Earth, clean air to breathe, and healthy streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans, life as we know it cannot survive. But where is America’s environmental playbook? And who has vetted the principles that will form the foundation of our strategy and the metrics by which success or failure can be measured? Who has the proper balance of courage and expertise to lead? A Contract with the Earth offers a new approach to the challenges of the twenty-first century, encouraging our citizens to accept the responsibility of global environmental leadership and to overcome our nation’s troubled history of vacillation and withdrawal when the opportunity to lead beckons. We offer this preamble to A Contract with the Earth as a platform to frame our commitment to renew the living earth.

That the book was written by Newt Gingrich will commend the book to most conservatives. That the preface was written by the eminent biologist E.O. Wilson might convince many liberal environmentalists that Gingrich offers something worth listening to.

Grace and Peace

2 thoughts on “More Conservative Environmentalism: Newt Gingrich

  1. geochristian


    Thanks for your comment.

    Not all who write about “sustainable development” or “social injustice” (both topics of the link you gave) are part of some socialist/United Nations conspiracy to rule the world and to bring private property ownership or market-based economies to an end.

    In its most basic sense, sustainability is about living in such a way as a society that can be maintained indefinitely. For us to embrace water, energy, or food policies that bring short-term profit for some but long-term disaster for all is not only unsustainable but tremendously foolish. An example would be agricultural techniques that boost harvests for a few years but destroy the soil that will be needed for centuries. Another example of unsustainability is mining of groundwater, where water is not only pumped out of the ground faster than it can be replenished, but to such a degree that recharge of aquifers actually becomes impossible. We need to work as a society to find ways to ensure that future generations will have plentiful water, food, and energy. That is sustainability.

    Likewise, social justice is a recurring theme in Scriptures, not a socialist buzzword. The Old Testament prophets, such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, or Amos, harshly denounced Israel’s sins, which went beyond idolatry and breaking the Sabbath to include oppression, bribery, and ignoring the needs of widows, orphans, and aliens. These themes are repeated in the Gospels and elsewhere in the New Testament, such as in the book of James.

    Granted, there are many out there who take up the themes of social injustice and environmental sustainability and use these to promote horrendous agendas. But the solution is not to give up on justice or the environment, but to work for the promotion of both in a way that respects human dignity and freedom.


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