For a cleaner, more prosperous world, ACC mobilizes conservatives around environmental issues, fostering collaboration in the pursuit of environmental conservation.
Growing up in Michigan allowed me to see some of nature’s finest work. We have mountains, the Great Lakes, forests, wildlife, and the most beautiful aspects of all four seasons. I grew up loving nature because I was always surrounded by it throughout the state.
Thanks to my dad, I learned from a young age that it was up to me to protect the nature I loved dearly. On a family trip to Yellowstone, he read a book with me about Teddy Roosevelt. From then on, I was fascinated by Teddy Roosevelt’s work. From diving deeper into the beautiful Michigan nature to see how I could protect it, to dressing up as Teddy—complete with a fake mustache, Harry Potter glasses, and an Indiana Jones hat—my nine-year-old self had found a true role model.
Part of the reason it is so important to bring Teddy’s beliefs back to Michigan is that climate change can have a massive effect on the state. While we do boast an extraordinary display of all four seasons, Michigan is perhaps best known for our winters. In the winter, the snow and ice create a multitude of activities for people to participate in: skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, hiking, ice fishing, and so much more. Winter tourism brings in $2.15 billion for the state, making up a large chunk of its overall tourism revenue.
However, the effects of climate change have been hitting those glorious winters the hardest, which causes a dip in both small businesses who rely on the snow and the tourists they bring, along with the state as a whole. The 2019-20 season was rough for northern Michigan’s winter tourism. Ski patrols, like mine, speculate that ski hills across the region reported lower check-ins and higher injury rates due to the poor conditions resulting from an unnaturally warm winter. Unfortunately, if further action to protect the environment is not taken, I fear these bad winter seasons might become a more prominent and unavoidable reality for Michigan.
This is where the Teddy energy is needed from everyone. All 50 states rely on nature to support things such as their economies, well-being, or simply their identities. What would Michigan be without our winters? It’s our time to stand up to protect the natural environments that make our states what they are, and that energy needs to come from both parties. That’s where the American Climate Contract comes in.
For too long, conservatives have not had a true platform to speak up for the environment. This always struck me as odd—shouldn’t the party of Teddy Roosevelt still carry the morals that he followed unapologetically as president? Thankfully, the American Climate Contract is a great place to start. By putting forth attainable policy goals for America to pursue, such as promoting carbon capture technologies, incorporating clean energy into the free market system, and expanding our forests, the Contract allows us to successfully work with and improve on the current structures in place.
The initiatives outlined in the Contract are especially easy for me to support as a Michigander—I am endlessly proud of the nature we display here in “Pure Michigan,” and I would be devastated to see it wither away throughout my life. By supporting the Contract, I am supporting the future of my state, so that the generations that follow me will be able to enjoy Michigan for all it has to offer.
The Contract puts the passion that Teddy Roosevelt had for the natural world into reasonable environmental policy that I can support with the same amount of passion. By supporting it, you can carry on his legacy and create just as big of an impact as he did in protecting nature for generations to come.
This is the eighth 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 previous editions here.