Chris Buskirk, editor and publisher of "American Greatness," joined FNC's Tucker Carlson Tuesday night to talk about the conservative approach to protecting the environment:
CARLSON: Well, for decades, conservatives for some reason have conceded the environmental issue to the left. Why? The left is dominated by climate extremists who want to ground airplanes and take away your plastic straws. People who know nothing about the natural world, who never even go outside. And yet they're in charge of the conversation on environmental issues. Huh?
What if conservatives actually tried to win over people who care about nature, preserving green spaces, natural beauty, ending litter, keeping this country clean? That's most people by the way? Certainly me. Chris Buskirk is Editor and Publisher of "American Greatness." He just wrote a fantastic new piece, which you should read called, "How conservatives can protect the environment and win voters, too." He joins us tonight. Chris, thanks so much for writing this piece, and for coming -- which is fantastic -- and for coming on tonight. Why have conservatives allowed this issue, love of nature, to be hijacked by the left?
CHRIS BUSKIRK, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER, "AMERICAN GREATNESS": You know, I have no idea. I've got this -- I've got this theory that for the past 20 years there has been this -- everything has been sort of defined by the climate change debate. So the left says, "Climate change, climate change, climate change. If we don't do something extreme tomorrow, that allows the government to intrude all over every sort of personal liberty that you have, then the plan is going to be destroyed in five years, and the human race is going to go extinct." That's one side.
On the other side, conservatives have allowed themselves to do nothing more than trying to negate and say, "Nope, that we don't think that's true." And it's just another example of this ethic that conservatives -- American conservatives anyway seem to have, which is, our only job is to stand up for history yelling, "Stop, and it's stupid."
BUSKIRK: And it is just a loser philosophy, and we have to come up with something that's better than that. We have to be able to put forward good policies that actually promote and protect the environment that promote green spaces, as you were saying, to protect nature. These are things that should be uncontroversial, and yet climate change has become an excuse not to do anything.
CARLSON: That is it. And you make this point in your piece. That's exactly right. It's become an excuse to let the actual natural environment degrade. I mean, one of the great things in my opinion, maybe, the great thing about this country is its natural beauty, which really has no parallel in the world. And yet, it is getting dirtier. There's litter and graffiti everywhere, why wouldn't conservative spearhead efforts to clean up America?
BUSKIRK: This is -- I don't know. This is a huge pet peeve with me. I don't understand it. You're conservative, so we have this self-image, you know, we are the people who clean up our lawns, we are the people who, you know, just do that sort of do the right thing and we are people of personal responsibility. Why doesn't that apply to the country as a whole?
We would rather have beautiful cities. Go to New York, go to Los Angeles - - these are cities that are degrading quickly. And that is part of the environment, too. You know, there's a U.S. Fire Service study that I cite in the piece that says that the United States loses 36 million trees in urban areas every single year. That makes those urban areas less beautiful, it makes them less pleasant.
BUSKIRK: And by the way, it also makes them hotter and drier. Our reforestation program should be something that is totally uncontroversial. That'll be very popular, and yet conservative seem to lack the vocabulary to talk about these issues.
CARLSON: Well, I couldn't -- I absolutely couldn't agree more. And by the way, crowded places are ugly places. I mean, you could make a really strong case for restricting immigration on environmental grounds. We've made that case on the show. I believe it strongly.
And I hope conservatives will read your piece and reclaim their birthright given to them by Teddy Roosevelt, I would argue, as stewards of the environment because we should be that. Chris Buzkirk, thank you for beginning that conversation. Great to see you tonight.