The American Conservation Coalition, an organization dedicated to giving conservatives a voice on the environment, launched its second annual #WhyIConserve digital campaign on Wednesday.

#WhyIConserve took off on social media, and the responses were great:

And, rather than add a disclaimer about my affiliation with ACC at the end of this post, I’ll just share my reason #WhyIConserve:

While this campaign highlighted the passion so many conservatives have for sound environmental policy changes, it also emphasized another important point: people are clamoring for a green GOP.

Conservatives are tired of being left out of the environmental discussion. The grassroots haven’t dropped the ball on this – hunters, ranchers, and conservationists all across the country are working to better the planet and start the needed conversations. No, the right has been largely left out of the conversation by the very people who are supposed to represent us best: Republican lawmakers.

Thankfully, things are shifting in the right direction. Congressional Republicans are stepping forward and offering sensible, market oriented environmental policy changes (like the USE IT Act co-sponsored by Senator John Barasso, R-WY). The founding of the Roosevelt Caucus as a forum for congressional Republicans to foster discussions about market-based environmental policy also makes me hopeful for the future of sensible legislation from the right.  

On a state level, things are looking even brighter. The passage of free-market oriented legislation like South Carolina’s recent Energy Freedom Act is encouraging. With better knowledge of their state’s environment, and the outdoorsmen and conservationists that reside in the state, I am hopeful that state legislators will play a significant role in passing environmentally and fiscally sound policy ideas in the next years.

Republicans have still not fully claimed a seat at the environmental policy table, but the Grand Old Party has started heading in the right direction. With young voters pressing the GOP to take action on environmental issues, this shift couldn’t come at a better time.

PC: Tiffany Von Armin

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