by Janet Levy
Much of the disagreement over the use of America’s natural resources stems from confusion over the difference between conservation and environmentalism. Conservation, a rational, conservative approach to protecting and preserving the environment, is an ethic of resource utilization. Conservationists view man as a natural, invested partner in the endeavor to preserve the environment to ensure its continued, sustainable use by humans.
Environmentalism began as a sincere conservationist movement but subscribes to a view of man as nature’s enemy. Nature itself is revered and intrinsically embodied with value. Environmentalists seek to limit human access to, rather than allow use of, nature to advance human life, health, and happiness. Environmentalists perceive man as an immoral, destructive interloper who can interact only negatively with his natural surroundings.
In his book, Smoking Them Out: The Theft of the Environment and How to Take It Back…Greg Walcher focuses on these ideological differences as he examines the environmental movement.