Home Truths on Ecology

The relationship between Greens and Conservatives in England is notoriously fractious.  Many conservatives see Greens as sub-Marxist semibeatniks, and many Greens see conservatives as military-industrial Morlocks.  Yet etymology alone suggests that conservatism and conservationism should shade into each other, just as blue blends into green and back again in the color spectrum.  And even if it did not, people of all persuasions are compelled to share this globe, and all of us will profit or lose according to how we discharge our responsibilities.

In the author’s wryly bylined “Scrutopia,” right and left would unite against the profligacy and pollution that threaten everyone’s environments.  Conservatives would recognize that while the jury may still be out on anthropocentric global warming, climate change requires mitigation, beautiful places and irreplaceable species are being unnecessarily destroyed, and international free trade is not an unalloyed blessing.  Leftists would recognize that environmental protection should supersede egalitarianism, that top-down international initiatives tend to miscarry, and that we need to think and act nationally as well as locally and globally.  Whatever their other differences, right and left could and should cooperate now on attainable and patently beneficial objectives—opposing consumerism, preserving...

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