For a cleaner, more prosperous world, ACC mobilizes conservatives around environmental issues, fostering collaboration in the pursuit of environmental conservation.
I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. As part of my faith, stewardship of the earth is a foundational principle introduced in the very first pages of the Bible. By adulthood, I resolved to make sustainable choices on a personal level; I was reducing waste, ethically sourcing clothing, and recycling. But the reality still stood: climate change is a big challenge that would require big solutions. Try as I might to do my part in my own life (as we all should), I couldn’t be the sole benefactor of the climate movement.
For a long time, limited government intervention and reducing human impact on the environment stood in direct opposition to each other, at least when it came to my partisan options.
During my teen years, climate change received increasing attention from the media and the masses. I grew acutely aware of the calling I had as a Christian to care for the earth. But simultaneously, I became increasingly cognizant of the struggles of bureaucracy and its winding red tape. I knew the tangling and complicated methods that the government must take to solve issues. And even then, the initiatives they reach are not always the most innovative, effective, helpful, or sound. In addition, my faith led me to understand the often selfish motivations of humans, which could easily disrupt the movement when placed into the hands of the few. When people are left to their own devices and agendas, altruism was not likely to win.
And yet, the conversation regarding the environment was overwhelmingly taking place on the left. Solutions naturally included government programs, taxes, and mandates that would inch businesses towards a “greener future.” But forcing companies into submission just led to loopholes and relocation, rather than concrete progress.
So where did that leave me? A conservative concerned about climate change, but with no real outlets. On the outskirts, mostly—left to carry out stewardship as much as I could by my own means.
When the American Conservation Coalition (ACC) launched in 2017, it definitely caught my attention. The efforts that Benji Backer and Danielle Butcher had put forth to influence the image of conservative youth had already gained my respect years prior. So when ACC stepped up to change the narrative concerning conservatives and climate change, I was all ears.
Flash forward to now, and ACC’s efforts have culminated into an actionable policy framework to combat climate change in the American Climate Contract. It is based on the four pillars of energy innovation, 21st century infrastructure, natural solutions, and global engagement. Most importantly, the Climate Contract seeks to work with the power of the free market, giving businesses the opportunity to find the sustainable technologies that are in demand. Rather than beating innovators down, it encourages them to improve energy efficiency and seek natural solutions. And in true American spirit, the Climate Contract pushes the U.S. to be a leader in the climate conversation, partnering with other nations to deploy the resources that will mitigate the effects of climate change.
This is the second installment of “My Contract Story,” an ongoing series on the ACC Blog to tell personal stories of ACC team members and allies about why they support the American Climate Contract. Read the first here.