The National Audubon Society and Republican group ConservAmerica today launched a groundbreaking campaign aimed at bridging the nation’s bitter partisan divides over energy and the environment.
The American Eagle Compact targets common-sense approaches to conservation and energy development to counter the partisanship has confused and polarized voters and jeopardized America’s commitment to conserving natural resources for the health of people and wildlife.
“Extremists on both sides of the political divide have hijacked America’s conservation movement,” said David Yarnold, president and CEO of the National Audubon Society. “We believe Americans want to break the gridlock. This is not just a fight to save the planet; this is a fight to save the neighborhoods where we live and the open space and waterways where we work and play. Conservation doesn’t have a party.”
“We call on the next administration and the next Congress to detoxify the conversation over energy and conservation issues,” said Rob Sisson, president of ConservAmerica. “The rancor of recent years represents a cynical, short-sighted attitude that betrays the important shared values that have always united us.”
The American Eagle Compact invites supporters, regardless of party affiliation, to demand common-sense stewardship of land and waters, energy independence and protecting the health of U.S. communities. The compact urges new approaches that allow political leaders to:
- Develop energy in smarter ways to balance our energy and job needs with safeguarding our air and waters, avoiding sensitive landscapes, protecting public health, and protecting vulnerable birds and wildlife in sensitive lands and waters.
- Preserve and protect our public lands parks, open spaces and wildlife for the benefit all Americans through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, North American Wetlands Conservation Act and Everglades restoration.
- Confront the realities and threats of air and water pollution in our communities and our states and make sensible decisions on how to deal with it.
The campaign continues through early November. Audubon and ConservAmerica will deliver copies of the compact and a list of signers to the White House and to Congress.
Now in its second century, Audubon connects people with birds, nature and the environment that supports us all. Our national network of community-based nature centers, chapters, scientific, education, and advocacy programs engages millions of people from all walks of life in conservation action to protect and restore the natural world. Visit Audubon online.
ConservAmerica-Growing a greener GOP from the ground up. Visit ConservAmerica online.
Because Conservation Doesn’t Have a Party
An Op-Ed by David Yarnold, President and CEO of National Audubon Society
October 5, 2012
You have to get out of shouting range of the politicians in Washington to appreciate what’s really important to Americans.
Americans like Barbra from Arizona: “‘Environment’ is not a swear word, but too often it is treated like one in the halls of our legislatures.”
Barbra is one of thousands of Americans – Republicans, Democrats and Independents–who have joined a national grassroots conversation aimed at taking the politics out of conservation and returning preservation of our wilderness lands, waterways and wildlife to its original roots as a unifying, rather than divisive force in America.
Judging from responses from all across America, perhaps we are not a nation as divided as our political leaders would like us believe.
We’ve heard from angry Republicans.
“Since when did breathing clean fresh air, drinking pure clean water and protecting our precious natural resources and environment become something that only Democrats should value?” wrote Lorrie from Pennsylvania. “Too often now I hear key Republicans ridicule people that care deeply about the environment as over-zealous crazies. It makes me feel…almost embarrassed to be a Republican.”
But the frustration knows no party.
Ann from Nebraska speaks for many Americans when she says, “I sure would like to be hearing candidates even mention the environment during their campaigns. There’s a lot of talk about the deficit and the burden it will place on future generations. Think of the burden placed on them if their world is deprived of clean air, clean water and an abundance of wildlife and wild places.”
We at the National Audubon Society, one of the nation’s most trusted conservation organizations, and ConservAmerica, a grassroots organization of conservation-minded Republicans, have joined in a ground-breaking movement called the American Eagle Compact.
The compact’s purpose is to rally Americans around these shared values, remove the politically loaded rhetoric, and hold our elected leaders accountable for responsible stewardship and common-sense conservation.
We call on the next administration and the next Congress to detoxify the conversation over clean air, clean water, protecting the health of American families, preserving our wild places, seeking energy independence, and saving endangered birds and wildlife.
“All Americans must…get over the hump that divides half into thinking that economic progress is at odds with environmental protection and the other half into thinking that we actually have the luxury of time to wait for everyone to agree,” Mark from California wrote us on our website.
Politicians need to realize that outside Washington, this is not a debate over the existence–or not–of man-made climate change. It’s debate over preserving our national heritage, clean air and water, and protecting the love of outdoors that binds Americans together.
“I grew up half a block from the railroad, and remember Mom’s clothes on the clothes line getting dirty from the soot of the passing locomotives,” Bob wrote from America’s heartland in Nebraska. “We never thought about health hazards from the soot, we just wanted clean clothes. We were pleased when diesel locomotives replaced the coal-burners–no more dirty clothes! We didn’t care whether Republicans or Democrats were behind the change. We just saw progress.”
One of the most poignant stories came from Carrie in New Jersey.
“Although my father and I hold vastly different views on a great many subjects, a gift he gave me when I was quite young was the love of nature, and in particular, the birds outside our window.
“To this day, in his advancing age and humbling physical decline, I can share a moment with him about a bird I’ve seen in my own yard’s hedge or my daily wanderings, and I can see the old spark of interest and curiosity in his eyes that has inspired me,” Carrie wrote.
Let’s bring together both parties to understand that we are dependent on a healthy atmosphere and strong laws to protect it for the sake of Carrie, her dad and all Americans.