Conservatives looking to build a national majority need look no further than the example offered by environmental activists.
Certainly we have to remind responsible adults that growing government and inviting greater dependency is harmful to the country. It robs from our children and grandchildren to feed this generation’s consumption. A recent Rasmussen poll finds that only 53 percent of adults think capitalism is better than socialism. Shift the income-tax burden a bit more, so that the non-payers outnumber the payers, and those numbers will jump even higher. Among the under 30s, 37 percent favor capitalism, 33 percent socialism and 30 percent are undecided.
There’s work to be done.
Earth Day offers guidance.
AJC Reporter Nancy Badertscher writes today that “across metro Atlanta there are signs that the school-based environmental movement has advanced beyond newspaper recycling programs and Earth Day activities.” She notes as examples Beaver Ridge Elementary School in Gwinnett County where “No Idling — Young Lungs at Work” signs are posted a drop-off zones to encourage parents not to linger with their engines idling. She offers other examples. Four teachers carpool to save money and vehicle wear-and-tear but “more importantly” to reduce greenhouse gases.
“More schools are beginning to understand that their influence on air quality and the environment stretches beyond the four walls of the classroom,” environmental activist Susan Bacon told Badertscher.
Certainly we all have an obligation to be good stewards of the land and the environment, just as we have obligations to drive in ways that don’t endanger ourselves and others or obligations to be good citizens. Those are not obligations that rise to the level of, say, providing for our families and giving our children a mother and father in the home. But, no question, responsible environmentalism serves the common good and future generations.
Imagine, though, if in elementary school when we begin to teach children that recycling is an imperative of good citizenship, we began to emphasize the importance of living within our means, or of respecting future generations by not burdening them with our debt. Within two decades or so, we’d succeed in making personal responsibility a cause equal to “Young Lungs at Work.”
This generation’s classroom instruction is next generation’s public policy imperatives.