I hate seeing nature bulldozed simply to generate a profit for a select few.
In Salt Lake City, we have a mountain range hugging the eastern part of the city called the Wasatch Front. It’s well protected, guarded, and designated as a public nature area. It is a peaceful, beautiful area of the country right outside the limits of the city.
Similar to Wasatch, another mountain range hugs the western side of the city. It’s called the Oquirrh mountain range.
The only difference is this mountain range is completely privatized. It’s mined for gold, silver, lead, but most commonly for copper. Kennecott Utah Copper runs the mining operation. Contrary to the name, it is not actually Utah owned but rather ‘Rio Tinto’ owned. Rio Tinto is from London.
The Oquirrh range is just as beautiful and worthy of reservation as the Wasatch, but we can’t even hike it. It’s completely blocked off and you’ll get hit with a trespassing violation if you go up them anyway (a lesson from personal experience).
The kicker? It’s not even Americans profiting from the mining and privatization of the mountains. It’s foreigners.
This is nothing new. Even our local tribune constantly bitches about it:
Our nation’s 1872 mining law is a legal relic from the pick-and-shovel age, still being used by mining companies, even foreign ones, to lay claim to American public assets at 1872 prices.
With little environmental restraint or public health protection, it still allows miners to virtually steal public land, paying next to nothing to the government, poisoning the land and water and often leaving American taxpayers to clean up the mess.
The end result of this battle will answer these questions: “Who owns the Oquirrhs?” and “Who owns our air and water, British CEOs or Utah citizens?”
Rio Tinto/Kennecott has exploited every word of this law while putting on a public facade proclaiming their ‘environmental sensitivity’ and ‘community loyalties’.
Rio Tinto has never given even the slightest care in the world for Utah. They are a foreign business; they have no loyalty to us.
“Look to the left for Eco-Nationalism and to the right for unhinged capitalism”
It is rare to see the degradation of nature in such a stark comparison.
On one side we have a protected, revered mountain range that all American citizens can enjoy. On the other side, we have a privatized range with no trespassing signs and a completely decimated natural beauty. In other words, the southern end of the Oquirrh range are no longer mountains, they are mining canyons.
If you visit Salt Lake City, you can see the difference by just looking to your left and right. You’ll see the mountains we deemed in the national interest to protect. Then you’ll see the mountains we doomed to foreign interests.
While other environmental degradation examples don’t have such clear examples that the Utah ranges have, they speak of the same struggle.
Non-Extremism Environmentalism – The World Isn’t Going To End But Maybe We Should Contribute
Nature is tradition. Nature is a component of the culture of the nation. We should protect our environment as much as possible.
Environmentalism is usually a leftist position. On the right we tend to yield this position in favor of capitalist endeavors. However, I can’t think of anything truly more nationalist if we take off the capitalist goggles for five seconds. Which is where eco-nationalism comes in.
We define nationalism as identification with one’s own nation and support for her interests.
- Our interest is the protection of the natural beauty that we enjoy. We should strive to make it so our children can continue to enjoy it without degradation.
- Our identification is with the mountain ranges, not with the foreign mining companies.
Eco-nationalism, or green nationalism, is safeguarding the national interests in regards to our environment and our nature.
Just ask yourself: Does allowing foreign companies the right to destroy our natural ranges provide us with any long-term benefits? Maybe we make a few quick bucks, but most of those bucks are going to foreign holders, anyway.
The left has taken a lot of extreme positions on environmentalism that has turned off conservatives. They think we’re all going to die if we don’t address climate change yesterday. Extremist environmentalism is a problem, sure. But that doesn’t mean we need to swing completely to the other side and join the destroy nature club.
A middle ground approach is better.
Protect the national interests of the nation by preserving the nature of the country. Not just from foreign but also from domestic assault. Yet, don’t take it to an extreme and worship environmentalism as a religion.
All Around Eco-Nationalism
I’ve been reading more and more on green nationalism and I definitely feel I fit well within the camp. In fact, I feel like most conservatives that live near nature would also agree with this position if they took the time to dig into it.
Using the same logic as the Oquirrh mountain range philosophy, let’s take it further and start pushing to reduce our nation’s reliance on fossil fuels.
Why? To cut off our dependence on Middle East nations and placed like Venezuela.
I don’t care so much about our use of fossil fuels as much as I don’t like our dependence on foreign nations, especially hostile ones. Nor accepting the fact that if a Western nation would run out of energy sources they’d be in a very, very bad place.
Imagine if we could acquire completely sustainable energy in the U.S. over time using things like solar, wind, hydropower, and nuclear energy. I’m not saying let’s go broke to do it right this second, but slowly over time supporting research and implementations to make this a reality.
We would be so self-sufficient that we wouldn’t have to deal with any foreign countries for energy sources. In addition, we could have clean air for every American citizen. We would have pure water sources and healthy wildlife. Above all, we would be able to protect the environment and significantly reduce the energy costs we all have to pay, which would boost each Americans paycheck.
Protecting the natural beauty and sustainability of the country is the future of nationalism. I want my kids to enjoy a self-sufficient nation, our protected natural landmarks, and not having to go to war for energy sources.
Green nationalism is the future of the right. If bug-eyed capitalist neocons can’t keep up, I say we happily leave them behind.