To many people who are deeply devoted to the environment, there is a tendency to place the values of environmental causes and goals as political issues. Unfortunately, political sparring can often hurt conservation efforts. It hasn’t always been that way and it shouldn’t be that way in the future. All people of the world have a vested interest in the benefits of a healthy environment. Thus, we must all work together.
A Contract With the Earth is an excellent vision formed into a book by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Terry L. Maple, President and CEO of Palm Beach Zoo. It may come as a surprise to some, but Newt was once an environmental studies professor and has devoted much of his life to environmental solutions.
The crux of Contract With the Earth is to bind citizens to the issues of the environment through a wide array of efforts. These include:
- Entrepreneurial Environmentalism
- Environmental Philanthropy
- Strong Leadership
- Citizen Science
- Environmental Education
Contract With the Earth discusses issues such as the “nature-deficit-disorder” that has struck much of the nation’s youth to the wonderful environmental accomplishments of generous private citizens and businesses. And yes, the government is talked about as well: how some species, such as the Whooping Crane, have been saved from extinction do to thoughtful political involvement.
Some observers believe that nations united by the cohesive demands of environmentalism are more likely to find common cause on many other international issues and thereby avert serious conflict.
Some of what Gingrich and Maple discuss might come as a surprise coming from a conservative. But it shouldn’t. As E.O. Wilson’s foreword states, “both ‘conservatism’ and ‘conservation’ are derived from the Latin conservare because each is meant to convey the ideal of saving and treasuring that which has, over time, proved best for humanity.”
Contract shows how we have a golden opportunity. While we fix environmental problems we will “launch an unprecendented epoch of economic prosperity.” “The business of conservation will generate revenue, whereas a high price will be paid if we ignroe the warning signs of our troubled planet.”
Organizations like Conservation International and the Nature Conservancy are leading the charge of sound business practices mixed with partnerships across a wide spectrum of organizations, both public and private. Contract shows how these partnerships have accomplished much more than they ever could by being divided and self-fulfilling.
Thus, if you believe that conservation is the duty of everyone and the environment is worthy to protect, check out A Contract with the Earth.
“The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem. Unless we solve that problem it will avail us little to solve all others.” – Theodore Roosevelt – Republican, Conservationist, Hero