Our organization is based on the premise that conservatism requires us to be good stewards of (as Ronald Reagan liked to call it) “this magical planet of ours.” While it may seem like a foreign concept to some on the political right today, that stewardship obligation–which includes a commitment to protect the interests of future generations–has been embraced by history’s greatest conservative minds.

The quotations included below provide insight into how those trailblazing conservatives balanced liberty and responsibility, understood human nature, and recognized our duty to be good stewards of our environment.

One may scroll down through all of the quotes (they are generally organized chronologically) or jump to a specific individual’s quotations by clicking the name link below:

Edmund BurkeTheodore RooseveltHerbert HooverT.S. EliotRichard WeaverRussell KirkDwight D. EisenhowerRichard NixonBarry GoldwaterGerald R. FordRonald ReaganPope John Paul IIMargaret ThatcherJohn McCainJeffrey HartWilliam HarbourWendell BerryGordon DurnilRod DreherPaul Weyrich

Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797)

Burke was an Irish-born English statesman who is generally regarded as the founder of “true” conservatism and the greatest of all modern conservative thinkers. Burke’s intellectual criticism of the French Revolution entitled Reflections on the Revolution in France provided conservatism its most influential statement of views.


“The great Error of our Nature is, not to know where to stop, not to be satisfied with any reasonable Acquirement; not to compound with our Condition; but to lose all we have gained by an insatiable Pursuit after more.”
A Vindication of Natural Society, 1757

“Never, no, never, did Nature say one thing, and Wisdom say another.”
Third Letter on Regicide Peace, 1797

“One of the first and most leading principles on which the commonwealth and its laws are consecrated, is lest the temporary possessors and life renters in it, unmindful of what they have received from their ancestors, or of what is due to their posterity, should act as if they were the entire masters; that they should not think it among their rights to cut off the entail, or commit waste on the inheritance, by destroying at their pleasure the whole original fabric of their society; hazarding to those who come after them a ruin instead of a habitation…No one generation could link with another. Men would become little better than flies of a summer.”
Reflections on the Revolution in France, page 44

“Society…is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.”
Reflections, page 96 (114)?

“Men have no right to what is not reasonable, and to what is not for their benefit.”
Reflections on the Revolution in France, page 335

“Knowledge of those unalterable Relations which Providence has ordained that every thing should bear to every other…To these we should conform in good Earnest; and not think to force Nature, and the whole Order of her System, by a Compliance with our Pride, and Folly, to conform to our artificial Regulations.”
A Vindication of Natural Society, 1757

“Prudence is not only the first in rank of the virtues political and moral, but she is the director and regulator, the standard of them all.”
Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs: In Consequence of Some Late Discussions in Parliament, Relative to the Reflections on the French Revolution, 1791

“Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there be within the more there must be without.”
Letter to a Member of the National Assembly of France (1791)

Theodore Roosevelt (1858 - 1919)

The 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt embodied the conservative values of personal responsibility, hard work and prudence. He abhorred waste and sought to protect capitalism from the excesses of greed. He believed that conservation was essential for keeping America strong. Roosevelt was a champion of the Burkean ideal that a moral partnership exists between present and future generations. That view helped instruct his passion for conserving America’s natural resources.


“Conservation is a great moral issue, for it involves the patriotic duty of insuring the safety and continuance of the nation.”
New Nationalism speech, Ossowatomie, Kansas, August 31, 1910

“Optimism is a good characteristic, but if carried to an excess, it becomes foolishness. We are prone to speak of the resources of this country as inexhaustible; this is not so.”
Seventh Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1907

“We of an older generation can get along with what we have, though with growing hardship; but in your full manhood and womanhood you will want what nature once so bountifully supplied and man so thoughtlessly destroyed; and because of that want you will reproach us, not for what we have used, but for what we have wasted…So any nation which in its youth lives only for the day, reaps without sowing, and consumes without husbanding, must expect the penalty of the prodigal whose labor could with difficulty find him the bare means of life.”
“Arbor Day - A Message to the School-Children of the United States” April 15, 1907

“There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country.”
Confession of Faith Speech, Progressive National Convention, Chicago, IL, August 6, 1912

“Conservation of our resources is the fundamental question before this nation, and that our first and greatest task is to set our house in order and begin to live within our means.”
January 1909, in letter transmitting report of National Conservation Commission to Congress

“Defenders of the short-sighted men who in their greed and selfishness will, if permitted, rob our country of half its charm by their reckless extermination of all useful and beautiful wild things sometimes seek to champion them by saying the ‘the game belongs to the people.’ So it does; and not merely to the people now alive, but to the unborn people. The ‘greatest good for the greatest number’ applies to the number within the womb of time, compared to which those now alive form but an insignificant fraction. Our duty to the whole, including the unborn generations, bids us restrain an unprincipled present-day minority from wasting the heritage of these unborn generations. The movement for the conservation of wild life and the larger movement for the conservation of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in spirit, purpose, and method.”
A Book-Lover’s Holidays in the Open, 1916

“The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem. Unless we solve that problem it will avail us little to solve all others.”
Address to the Deep Waterway Convention, Memphis, TN, October 4, 1907

“To waste, to destroy, our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them.”
Seventh message to Congress, December 3, 1907

“I do not intend that our natural resources should be exploited by the few against the interests of the many
Acceptance speech, 1912 Bull Moose convention


T.S. Eliot (1888 - 1965)

Thomas Stearns Eliot, was an American (naturalized British) poet, playwright and essayist, and he won the 1948 Nobel Prize for Literature. He was one of the most influential poets of the 20th century. Russell Kirk described Eliot as the “principle conservative thinker in the twentieth century.”


“Religion, as distinguished from modern paganism, implies a life in conformity with nature. It may be observed that the natural life and the supernatural life have a conformity to each other which neither has with the mechanistic life…A wrong attitude towards nature implies, somewhere, a wrong attitude towards God…[We should] struggle to recover the sense of relation to nature and to God.”
Christianity and Culture, pages 48 and 49

“Conservatism is too often the conservation of the wrong things: liberalism a relaxation of discipline; revolution a denial of the permanent things.”
Christianity and Culture, page 7


Richard Weaver (1910 - 1963)

Weaver was a noted American conservative scholar whose influential book Ideas Have Consequences helped shape conservative thought in post-World War II America. Regarded as both a traditionalist conservative and a Southern Agrarian, his defense of property rights has also made him popular among Libertarians.


“Somehow the notion has been loosed that nature is hostile to man or that her ways are offensive or slovenly, so that every step of progress is measured by how far we have altered these. Nothing short of a recovery of the ancient virtue of pietas can absolve man from this sin.”
Ideas Have Consequences (1948), page 171

“The prevailing attitude towards nature is that form of heresy which denies substance and, in doing so, denies the rightfulness of creation. We have said - to the point of repletion, perhaps - that man is not to take his patterns from nature; but neither is he to waste himself in seeking to change her face.”
Ideas Have Consequences, page 171

“The modern position seems only another manifestation of egotism, which develops when man has reached a point at which he will no longer admit the rights to existence of things not of his own contriving.”
Ideas Have Consequences, page 171

“The true religion, it is said, is service to mankind; but this service seems to take the form of securing for him an unconditional victory over nature. Now this attitude is impious, for, as has been noted, it violates the belief that creation or nature is fundamentally good, that the ultimate reason for its laws is a mystery, and that acts of defiance such as are daily celebrated by the newspapers are subversive of cosmos.”
Ideas Have Consequences, pages 171 and 172

“We are more successfully healed by the vis medicatrix naturae (healing power of nature) than by the most ingenious medical application.”
Ideas Have Consequences, page 172

“Our planet is falling victim to a rigorism, so that what is done in any remote corner affects - nay, menaces - the whole. Resiliency and tolerance are lost.”
Ideas Have Consequences, page 173

“Triumphs against the natural order of living exact unforeseen payments. At the same time that man attempts to straighten a crooked nature, he is striving to annihilate space, which seems but another phase of the war against substance. We ignore the fact that space and matter are shock absorbers; the more we diminish them the more we reduce our privacy and security.”
Ideas Have Consequences, page 173

“Nature is not something to be fought, conquered and changed according to any human whims. To some extent, of course, it has to be used. But what man should seek in regard to nature is not a complete domination but a modus vivendi - that is, a manner of living together, a coming to terms with something that was here before our time and will be here after it. The important corollary of this doctrine, it seems to me, is that man is not the lord of creation, with an omnipotent will, but a part of creation, with limitations, who ought to observe a decent humility in the face of the inscrutable.”
The Southern Essays of Richard M. Weaver, pages 220 and 221


Russell Kirk (1919 - 1994)

Kirk was an American political theorist credited with giving rise to conservatism’s intellectual respectability in post-World War II America. His seminal work, The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot (1953), is widely regarded as the most influential text in twentieth-century conservative thought. President Reagan noted, “As the prophet of American conservatism, Russell Kirk has taught, nurtured, and inspired a generation.”


“Nothing is more conservative than conservation”
Conservation Activism is a Healthy Sign, Baltimore Sun, May 4, 1970

“The modern spectacle of vanished forests and eroded lands, wasted petroleum and ruthless mining, national debts recklessly increased until they are repudiated, and continual revision of positive law, is evidence of what an age without veneration does to itself and its successors.”
The Conservative Mind: >From Burke to Eliot (1953), pages 44-45

“The resources of nature, like those of spirit, are running out, and all that a conscientious man can aspire to be is a literal conservative, hoarding what remains of culture and of natural wealth against the fierce appetites of modern life.”
The Conservative Mind, page 362

“…only the unscrupulous or shortsighted can defend pollution and degradation of the countryside.”
“Conservation Activism is a Healthy Sign,” Baltimore Sun, May 4, 1970

“The issue of environmental quality is one which transcends traditional political boundaries. It is a cause which can attract, and very sincerely, liberals, conservatives, radicals, reactionaries, freaks, and middle-class straights.”
Common Reader for Everyday Ecologists,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, Sept. 20, 1971

“Every right is married to a duty, every freedom owes a corresponding responsibility.”
Redeeming the Time (1996), page 33

“True conformity to the dictates of nature requires reverence for the past and solicitude for the future. ‘Nature’ is not simply the sensation of the passing moment; it is eternal, though we evanescent men experience only a fragment of it. We have no right to imperil the happiness of posterity by impudently tinkering with the heritage of humanity.”
The Conservative Mind, page 57

“…so mankind is now trapped by the failure of its energies and by the depletion of those natural resources that men have plundered wantonly.”
The Conservative Mind, page 364

“If men are discharged of reverence for ancient usage, they will treat this world, almost certainly, as if it were their private property, to be consumed for their sensual gratification; and thus they will destroy in their lust for enjoyment the property of future generations, of their own contemporaries, and indeed their very own capital.”
The Conservative Mind, page 44

“The decay of old aristocratic prejudices against greedy speculation, the undermining of orthodox Christian faith (which forbids avarice)… the debauching of agriculture to a gross money-getting concern: these particular aspects of a vast and voracious concentration upon profits are so many illustrations of our sinning confusion of values.”
The Conservative Mind, page 140

“This network of personal relationships and local decencies was brushed aside by steam, coal, the spinning jenny, the cotton gin, speedy transportation, and the other items in that catalogue of progress which schoolchildren memorize. The Industrial Revolution seems to have been a response of mankind to the challenge of a swelling population…But it turned the world inside out. Personal loyalties gave way to financial relationships. The wealthy man ceased to be magistrate and patron; he ceased to be a neighbor to the poor man; he became a mass man, very often, with no purpose in life but aggrandizement. He ceased to be conservative because he did not understand conservative terms.”
The Conservative Mind, page 228

“To complete the rout of traditionalists, in America an impression began to arise that the new industrial and acquisitive interests are the conservative interest, that conservatism is simply a political argument in defense of large accumulations of private property, that expansion, centralization, and accumulation are the tenets of conservatives. From this confusion, from the popular belief that Hamilton was the founder of American conservatism, the forces of tradition in the United States never have fully escaped.”
The Conservative Mind, page 229

“Rather than ennobling the public mind and cementing the social fabric, applied science speedily became the chief weapon of a gross individualism, which was anathema to the frugal and righteous (John Quincy) Adams, the source of enormous fortunes divorced from duty, the instrument of unscrupulous ambition and rapacious materialism. Presently, it came to scar the very of the country which Adams loved, a disfiguring process uninterrupted since his day.”
The Conservative Mind, page 237

“The automobile, practical since 1906, was proceeding to disintegrate and stamp anew the pattern of communication, manners, and city life in the United States, by 1918; before long, men would begin to see that the automobile, and the mass production techniques which made its possible, could alter the national character and morality more thoroughly than could the most absolute of tyrants. As a mechanical Jacobin, it rivaled the dynamo. The productive process which made these vehicles cheap was still more subversive of the old ways than was the gasoline engine itself.”
The Conservative Mind, pages 373-374

“Humility, which Burke ranked high among the virtues, is the only effectual restraint upon this congenital vanity; yet our world has nearly forgotten the nature of humility. Submission to the dictates of humility formerly was made palatable to man by the doctrine of grace; that elaborate doctrine has been overwhelmed by modern presumption.”
The Conservative Mind, page 426

“The principle of real leadership ignored, the immortal objects of society forgotten, practical conservatism degenerated into mere laudation of private enterprise, economic policy almost wholly surrendered to special interests.”
The Conservative Mind, page 455

“To check centralization and usurping of power … we require a new laissez-faire. The old laissez-faire was founded upon a misapprehension of human nature, an exultation of individuality (in private character often a virtue) to the condition of a political dogma, which destroyed the spirit of community and reduced men to so many equipollent atoms of humanity, without sense of brotherhood or purpose.”
The Conservative Mind, page 489

“Why do we not exhaust the heritage of the ages, spiritual and material for our immediate pleasure, and let posterity go hang? So far as simple rationality is concerned, self-interest can advance no argument against the appetite of present possessors. Yet within some of us, a voice that is not the demand of self-interest or pure rationality says that we have no right to give ourselves enjoyment at the expense of our ancestors’ memory and our descendants’ prospects. We hold our present advantages only in trust.”
The Problem of Tradition As appeared in A Program for Conservatives (Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 1956).

“…ambition without pious restraint must end in failure, often involving in its ruin that beautiful reverence which solaces common men for the obscurity and poverty of their lot.”
The Conservative Mind, page 35

“And Burke, could he see our century, never would concede that a consumption-society, so near to suicide, is the end for which Providence has prepared man.”
The Conservative Mind, page 11


Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 - 1969)

The 34th president of the United States and supreme commander of Allied forces in the European Theater during World War II, Dwight D .Eisenhower pursued pragmatic conservative policies as president that built prosperity and kept America strong. His conservation achievements included protecting what is now the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and what is now the C&O National Historic Park, which extends along the Potomac River from Washington, DC to Cumberland, MD.


“As we peer into society’s future, we - you and I, and our government - must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage.” 
Farewell Address to the Nation, January 17, 1961


Richard Nixon (1913 - 1994)

The 37th President of the United States, Richard Nixon is widely credited with broadening the base of the Republican Party and setting the stage for conservatism to become America’s dominant political tradition. His 1968 campaign was fueled by his sharp criticism of the 1960s counterculture and anti-war movement. While Nixon espoused conservative views, he often tempered conviction with pragmatism. Nixon helped enact many of the nation’s landmark environmental laws, which he saw as a means of unifying the nation.


“The great question of the seventies is, shall we surrender to our surroundings, or shall we make our peace with nature and begin to make reparations for the damage we have done to our air, to our land, and to our water?”
Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union, 1970

“Restoring nature to its natural state is a cause beyond party and beyond factions. It has become a common cause of all the people of this country. It is a cause of particular concern to young Americans, because they more than we will reap the grim consequences of our failure to act on programs which are needed now if we are to prevent disaster later.”
Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union, 1970

“Clean air, clean water, open spaces — these should once again be the birthright of every American.”
Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union, 1970

“We still think of air as free. But clean air is not free, and neither is clean water. The price tag on pollution control is high. Through our years of past carelessness we incurred a debt to nature, and now that debt is being called.”
Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union, 1970

“As our cities and suburbs relentlessly expand, those priceless open spaces needed for recreation areas accessible to their people are swallowed up–often forever. Unless we preserve these spaces while they are still available, we will have none to preserve.”
Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union, 1970

“We can no longer afford to consider air and water common property, free to be abused by anyone without regard to the consequences. Instead, we should begin now to treat them as scarce resources, which we are no more free to contaminate than we are free to throw garbage into our neighbor’s yard.”
Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union, 1970

“Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed. It is a many-faceted treasure, of value to scholars, scientists, and nature lovers alike, and it forms a vital part of the heritage we all share as Americans.”
Statement on Signing the Endangered Species Act of 1973, December 28th, 1973

“…we must strike a balance so that the protection of our irreplaceable heritage becomes as important as its use. The price of economic growth need not and will not be deterioration in the quality of our lives and our surroundings.”
State of the Union Message on Natural Resources and the Environment, February 14th, 1973

“…because there are no local or State boundaries to the problems of our environment, the Federal Government must play an active, positive role. We can and will set standards. We can and will exercise leadership.”
State of the Union Message on Natural Resources and the Environment, February 14th, 1973

“People should not have to pay for pollution they do not cause.”
State of the Union Message on Natural Resources and the Environment, February 14th, 1973

“The destiny of our land, the air we breathe, the water we drink is not in the mystical hands of an uncontrollable agent, it is in our hands. A future which brings the balancing of our resources–preserving quality with quantity–is a future limited only by the boundaries of our will to get the job done.”
State of the Union Message on Natural Resources and the Environment, February 14th, 1973

“The 1970s must be the years when America pays its debt to the past by reclaiming the purity of its air, its waters, and our living environment. It is literally now or never.”
Statement About the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, January 1st, 1970

“Because the public lands belong to all Americans, this 1872 Mining Act should be repealed…”
State of the Union Message on Natural Resources and the Environment, February 14th, 1973

“An important measure of our true commitment to environmental quality is our dedication to protecting the wilderness and its inhabitants. We must recognize their ecological significance and preserve them as sources of inspiration and education. And we need them as places of quiet refuge and reflection.”
State of the Union Message on Natural Resources and the Environment, February 14th, 1973

“As we work to expand our supplies of energy, we should also recognize that we must balance those efforts with our concern to preserve our environment. In the past, as we have sought new energy sources, we have too often damaged or despoiled our land.”
State of the Union Message on Natural Resources and the Environment, February 14th, 1973

“The recent upsurge of public concern over environmental questions reflects a belated recognition that man has been too cavalier in his relations with nature. Unless we arrest the depredations that have been inflicted so carelessly on our natural systems–which exist in an intricate set of balances–we face the prospect of ecological disaster.”
Message to the Congress Transmitting the First Annual Report of the Council on Environmental Quality, August 10th, 1970

“‘Environment’ is not an abstract concern, or simply a matter of aesthetics, or of personal taste — although it can and should involve these as well. Man is shaped to a great extent by his surroundings. Our physical nature, our mental health, our culture and institutions, our opportunities for challenge and fulfillment, our very survival — all of these are directly related to and affected by the environment in which we live. They depend upon the continued healthy functioning of the natural systems of the Earth.”
Message to the Congress Transmitting the First Annual Report of the Council on Environmental Quality, August 10th, 1970

“The basic causes of our environmental troubles are complex and deeply embedded. They include: our past tendency to emphasize quantitative growth at the expense of qualitative growth; the failure of our economy to provide full accounting for the social costs of environmental pollution; the failure to take environmental factors into account as a normal and necessary part of our planning and decision making; the inadequacy of our institutions for dealing with problems that cut across traditional political boundaries; our dependence on conveniences, without regard for their impact on the environment; and more fundamentally, our failure to perceive the environment as a totality and to understand and to recognize the fundamental interdependence of all its parts, including man himself.”
Message to the Congress Transmitting the First Annual Report of the Council on Environmental Quality, August 10th, 1970


Barry Goldwater (1909 - 1998)

Dubbed “Mr. Conservative”, Barry Goldwater was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party’s candidate for President in the 1964 election. A gifted photographer who produced beautiful pictures illustrating his beloved Arizona landscape, Goldwater is credited with sparking the resurgence of the American conservative movement with his presidential campaign. Later in life, he expressed regret for supporting construction of the Glen Canyon Dam. In 1996, Goldwater joined Republicans for Environmental Protection, which is now ConservAmerica.


“While I am a great believer in the free enterprise system and all that it entails, I am an even stronger believer in the right our people to live in a clean and pollution-free environment.”
“The Conscience of a Majority (1970)”

“My mother took us to services at the Episcopal church. Yet she always said that God was not just inside the four walls of a house of worship, but everywhere — in the rising sun over Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, a splash of water along the nearby Salt or Verde rivers, or clouds driving over the Estrella Mountains, south of downtown. I’ve always thought of God in those terms.”
“Goldwater” (1988)


Gerald R. Ford (1913 - 2006)

The 38th President of the United States, Gerald R. Ford’s tenure in the White House was brief, but significant conservation achievements took place during his administration, including adoption of motor vehicle fuel efficiency standards, the creation of 18 national parks, and designation of 3.4 million acres of wilderness areas. A skilled athlete and outdoorsman, Ford is the only president to have worked as a national park ranger. He was a seasonal ranger at Yellowstone National Park during the summer of 1936.


“We have too long treated the natural world as an adversary rather than as a life-sustaining gift from the Almighty. If man has the genius to build, which he has, he must also have the ability and the responsibility to preserve.”
Remarks at dedication of National Environmental Research Center, July 3, 1975

“I remember as a ranger the first time I stood alone on Inspiration Point over at Canyon Station looking out over this beautiful land. I thought to myself how lucky I was that my parents’ and grandparents’ generation had the vision and the determination to save it for us. Now it is our turn to make our own gift outright to those who will come after us, 15 years, 40 years, 100 years from now. I want to be as faithful to my grandchildren’s generation as Old Faithful has been to ours. What better way can we add a new dimension to our third century of freedom?”
Remarks at Yellowstone National Park, August 29, 1976


Ronald Reagan (1911 - 2004)

The 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan emerged in the 1960s as one of America’s preeminent conservatives. He also served two terms as the Governor of California (1967-1975). Known as the “Great Communicator,” Reagan was without equal in convincingly articulating conservative values to the American public. Although not generally credited with a strong environmental record, Reagan signed 43 wilderness bills into law designating a net total of 10.6 million acres, and was instrumental in U.S. ratification of the Montreal Protocol — which has dramatically reduced emissions of gases that deplete the upper atmosphere’s protective ozone layer.


“If we’ve learned any lessons during the past few decades, perhaps the most important is that preservation of our environment is not a partisan challenge; it’s common sense. Our physical health, our social happiness, and our economic well-being will be sustained only by all of us working in partnership as thoughtful, effective stewards of our natural resources.”
Remarks on signing annual report of Council on Environmental Quality, July 11, 1984

“A strong nation is one that is loved by its people and, as Edmund Burke put it, for a country to be loved it ought to be lovely.”
Message to Congress transmitting Council on Environmental Quality’s annual report, February 19, 1986

The preservation of parks, wilderness, and wildlife has also aided liberty by keeping alive the 19th century sense of adventure and awe with which our forefathers greeted the American West. Many laws protecting environmental quality have promoted liberty by securing property against the destructive trespass of pollution. In our own time, the nearly universal appreciation of these preserved landscapes, restored waters, and cleaner air through outdoor recreation is a modern expression of our freedom and leisure to enjoy the wonderful life that generations past have built for us.”
Message to Congress transmitting Council on Environmental Quality’s annual report, October 3, 1988

“Generations hence, parents will take their children to these woods to show them how the land must have looked to the first Pilgrims and pioneers. And as Americans wander through these forests, climb these mountains, they will sense the love and majesty of the Creator of all of that.”
Remarks upon signing legislation designating wilderness in North Carolina, New Hampshire, Vermont and Wisconsin, June 19, 1984

“The Montreal Protocol is a model of cooperation. It is a product of the recognition and international consensus that ozone depletion is a global problem, both in terms of its causes and its effects. The protocol is the result of an extraordinary process of scientific study, negotiations among representatives of the business and environmental communities, and international diplomacy. It is a monumental achievement.”
Statement on signing the instrument of ratification of the Montreal Protocol on Ozone-Depleting Substances, April 5, 1988

“I just have to believe that with love for our natural heritage and a firm resolve to preserve it with wisdom and care, we can and will give the American land to our children, not impaired, but enhanced. And in doing this, we’ll honor the great and loving God who gave us this land in the first place.”
Remarks to National Campers and Hikers Association in Bowling Green, KY, July 12, 1984

“I believe in a sound, strong environmental policy that protects the health of our people and a wise stewardship of our nation’s natural resources.”
Radio address to nation on environmental and natural resources management, June 11, 1983

“I’m proud of having been one of the first to recognize that states and the federal government have a duty to protect our natural resources from the damaging effects of pollution that can accompany industrial development.”
Radio address to nation on environmental issues, July 14, 1984

“Those concerns of a national character–such as air and water pollution that do not respect state boundaries, or the national transportation system, or efforts to safeguard your civil liberties–must, of course, be handled on the national level.”
Address to Conservative Political Action Conference, Washington, DC, February 6, 1977

You are worried about what man has done and is doing to this magical planet that God gave us. And I share your concern. What is a conservative after all but one who conserves, one who is committed to protecting and holding close the things by which we live…And we want to protect and conserve the land on which we live — our countryside, our rivers and mountains, our plains and meadows and forests. This is our patrimony. This is what we leave to our children. And our great moral responsibility is to leave it to them either as we found it or better than we found it.”
Remarks at dedication of National Geographic Society new headquarters building, June 19, 1984


Pope John Paul II (1920 - 2005)

Pope John Paul II, born Karol Jozef Wojtyla, reigned as Pope of the Roman Catholic Church for more than 26 years, from October 16, 1978 until his death in 2005. He was a vigorous and vocal opponent of Communism who is often credited with contributing to its fall. Later in life he often spoke out against abortion, cultural relativism, consumerism and unrestrained capitalism.


“Equally worrying is the ecological question which accompanies the problem of consumerism and which is closely connected to it. In his desire to have and to enjoy rather than to be and to grow, man consumes the resources of the earth and his own life in an excessive and disordered way. At the root of the senseless destruction of the natural environment lies an anthropological error, which unfortunately is widespread in our day. Man, who discovers his capacity to transform and in a certain sense create the world through his own work, forgets that this is always based on God’s prior and original gift of the things that are. Man thinks that he can make arbitrary use of the earth, subjecting it without restraint to his will, as though it did not have its own requisites and a prior God-given purpose, which man can indeed develop but must not betray. Instead of carrying out his role as a cooperator with God in the work of creation, man sets himself up in place of God and thus ends up provoking a rebellion on the part of nature, which is more tyrannized than governed by him.”
Encyclical Centesimus Annus, May 1, 1991, page 37


Margaret Thatcher (1925 - 2013)

As leader of Britain’s Conservative Party, Margaret Thatcher served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. She was known as a conservative who confronted powerful unions, revived the British economy, and reinvigorated the nation’s foreign policy. Dubbed the “Iron Lady” by Soviet leaders, Thatcher was a close ally of President Reagan and supporter of his policies of deterrence against the Soviet Union.


“We must remember our duty to Nature before it is too late. That duty is constant. It is never completed. It lives on as we breathe. It endures as we eat and sleep, work and rest, as we are born and as we pass away. The duty to Nature will remain long after our own endeavors have brought peace to the Middle East. It will weigh on our shoulders for as long as we wish to dwell on a living and thriving planet, and hand it on to our children and theirs.”
Speech to World Climate Conference, November 6, 1990

“No generation has a free hold on this earth. All we have is a life tenancy–with a full repairing lease.”
Speech to Conservative Party Conference, October 14, 1988


John McCain (1936 - )

John McCain has represented Arizona in the U.S. Congress since 1983, first in the House and now in his fourth term in the Senate. McCain, who succeeded Barry Goldwater in the Senate, has emulated “Mr. Conservative’s” plain-spoken style and willingness to steer a maverick course. McCain has been an outspoken leader on climate change and energy security issues. He was the Republican nominee for president in 2008.


Some urge we do nothing because we can’t be certain how bad the (climate) problem might become or they presume the worst effects are most likely to occur in our grandchildren’s lifetime. I’m a proud conservative, and I reject that kind of live-for-today, ‘me generation,’ attitude. It is unworthy of us and incompatible with our reputation as visionaries and problem solvers. Americans have never feared change. We make change work for us.
Address at Center for Strategic and International Studies, April 23, 2007

For decades we have been living lives of abundance, with little regard for our natural resources or global health. But we are now facing hard choices in our energy policy. Future generations — my children and grandchildren, along with yours — will have to live with the decisions we make today. And so it is time for us to make some tough and — hopefully — smart choices regarding our energy use and production before it is too late.
Address to Clean Cities Congress, May 8, 2006

Our nation’s continued prosperity hinges on our ability to solve environmental problems and sustain the natural resources on which we all depend.
Op-Ed, The New York Times, November 22, 1996


Jeffrey Hart (1930 - )

Often described as a conservative icon, Jeffrey Hart is a longtime senior editor at National Review and Professor Emeritus of English at Dartmouth College. A former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, Hart is the author of Smiling Through the Cultural Catastrophe: Toward the Revival of Higher Education and The Making of the American Conservative Mind Today.


“Plato taught that the love of beauty led to the good, Eros to Agape. Among the nonquantifiable needs of civilization are forms of what Burke called the ‘unbought grace of life’…in Burke’s formulation, the word ‘unbought’ should be pondered.”
The Making of the American Conservative Mind Today, page 362

“Burke’s ‘unbought’ beauties are part of civilized life, and therefore ought to occupy much of the conservative mind. The absence of this consideration remains a mark of yahooism and is prominent in Republicanism today.”
The Making of the American Conservative Mind Today, page 362

“Momentarily noticed by National Review, Governor Reagan had a good record on conservation in California, appointing leading conservationists to key positions, preserving wilderness areas in the Sierra Nevada and elsewhere, blocking unnecessary and destructive highway development and much else of that kind. Yet as if by an intrinsic law, when the free market becomes a kind of utopianism it maximizes ordinary human imperfection, unleashing greed, short views, and the resulting barbarism.”
The Making of the American Conservative Mind Today, page 362

“Beauty has been clamorously present in the American Conservative Mind through its almost total absence. The tradition of regard for woodland and wildlife was present from the beginnings of the nation and continued through conservative exemplars such as the Republican Theodore Roosevelt, who established the National Parks. Embarrassingly for conservatives (at least one hopes it is embarrassing), stewardship of the environment is now left mostly to liberal Democrats.”
“>Wall Street Journal OpinionJournal.com, The Burke Habit: Prudence, skepticism and “unbought grace,” December 27, 2005


William Harbour (1948 - )

A professor of political science at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, since 1976, Harbour is the author of the book, Foundations of Conservative Thought: An Anglo-American Tradition in Perspective.


“…Conservatism distrusts talk about freedom that gives exclusive stress to notions of rights and the claims that individuals make against society while it ignores the notion of responsibility.”
Foundations of Conservative Thought (1982), pages 102-103


Wendell Berry (1934 - )

An American essayist, novelist, poet and farmer, Berry is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and essays. He has been called the “prophet of rural America” and his writing often extols the virtues of agrarian life and laments the negative effects of the industrial economy. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the T.S. Eliot Award.


“Our destruction of nature is not just bad stewardship, or stupid economics, or a betrayal of family responsibility; it is the most horrid blasphemy. It is flinging God’s gifts into His face, as if they were of no worth beyond that assigned to them by our destruction of them.”
“>”Christianity and the Survival of Creation,” in Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community (1993), page 98

“We have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives, so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us…We must recover the sense of the majesty of the creation and the ability to be worshipful in its presence. For it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it.”
Wendell Berry, Recollected Essays 1965-1980 (1987)

“In Kentucky, we’re destroying mountains, including their soils and forests, in order to get at the coal. In other words, we’re destroying a permanent value in order to get at an almost inconceivably transient value. That coal has a value only if and when it is burnt. And after it is burnt, it is a pollutant and a waste–a burden.”
A Conversation with Wendell Berry, CounterPunch Online, April 15, 2006

“Can we actually suppose that we are wasting, polluting, and making ugly this beautiful land for the sake of patriotism and the love of God? Perhaps some of us would like to think so, but in fact this destruction is taking place because we have allowed ourselves to believe, and to live, a mated pair of economic lies: that nothing has a value that is not assigned to it by the market; and that the economic life of our communities can safely be handed over to the great corporations.”
“Compromise, Hell!” Orion magazine , November/December 2004


Gordon Durnil(1936 - )

A dedicated conservative Republican who served for eight years as the Indiana Republican State Chairman, Durnil was appointed in 1989 by President George H.W. Bush to be U.S. Chairman of the International Joint Commission, a bi-national organization whose charge is to safeguard the environmental resources along the U.S.-Canadian border. He became an expert on toxic pollution and its effects and is credited as an architect of “The Precautionary Principle” with respect to toxic pollution. Mr. Durnil is the author of The Making of a Conservative Environmentalist.


“We conservatives bemoan the decline in values that has besieged our society. Why then should we not abhor the lack of morality involved in discharging untested chemicals into the air, ground, and water to alter and harm, to whatever degree, human life and wildlife? As a conservative, I do abhor it.”
The Making of a Conservative Environmentalist, pages 184 and 185

“A conservative should believe that industry executives, as well as individuals, are responsible for their actions.”
The Making of a Conservative Environmentalist, page 48


Rod Dreher (1967 - )

A conservative journalist/writer, Dreher currently writes for The American Conservative and has previously written for the Dallas Morning News, the National Review, the Washington Times and the New York Post. He is the author of the book Crunchy Cons, which the former publisher of the National Review called “a wake-up call that all who care about conservative ideas should heed.”


“…whatever the self-righteous excesses of the environmentalist left, it is impossible to be true to traditional conservative values (to say nothing of the Christian faith conservatives like me profess) and hold laissez faire attitudes about the use and abuse of the natural world.”
A green Christian conservative, USA Today, April 24, 2006

“As it turns out, the ecological catastrophe Kirk feared that would be the consequence of our impiety appears not to be one of radically diminished resources, but of potentially catastrophic climate change. It comes from an arrogant refusal by a modern consumerist society to accept limits on its desires. Kirk’s idea of the “eternal society” evaporates before the insatiable demands of the Everlasting Now.”
A green Christian conservative, USA Today, April 24, 2006

“If you believe that man is inherently flawed–what religious people call ‘original sin’–it follows that man, if left to his own devices, will tend towards ego-driven disharmony. Traditionalist conservatives know that absent the restraining hand of religion, tradition, or the state, there is nothing to prevent human beings from acting in ways contrary to their own best interests, or those of the community.”
Crunchy Cons, page 159

“It’s not easy being a green conservative, but if we conservatives want to be true to our principles we have to move in that direction. It is morally right. It is religiously correct. It is economically prudent. It strengthens national defense. And it makes a better world for our children, and our children’s children.”
Crunchy Cons, page 178


Paul Weyrich (1942 - )

A U.S. conservative political activist, commentator and founder of the Heritage Foundation, Weyrich is widely considered an architect of the “American New Right.” He has been a key strategist for social and religious conservative movements and helped found the “Moral Majority.”


“Dreher is correct in saying that traditionalist conservatives also have been conservationists…I think most conservatives should agree that this is an area we need to think more about.”
The Next Conservatism #39: The Next Conservatism and “Crunchy Cons”, Free Congress Foundation, April 24, 2006

“I agree with Dreher when he writes, ‘we can’t build anything good unless we live by the belief that man does not exist to serve the economy, but the economy exists to serve man…A society built on consumerism must break down eventually for the same reason socialism did’ ”
The Next Conservatism #39: The Next Conservatism and “Crunchy Cons”, Free Congress Foundation, April 24, 2006


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