Ben Sixsmith write that conservatives would do well to drop their scorn for environmental and conservationist issues. We don’t need to subscribe to anthropogenic climate change to recognize that care and stewardship of the natural world is inherently a conservative impulse:

Mentioning the environment to a conservative is liable to elicit a similar response that mentioning political correctness would from a left-winger: a slight raising of the eyebrows, a slight exhalation of breath and, perhaps, a folding of the arms or tapping of the feet. It smells—it positively stinks—of out-group affiliation. The environment? That’s what those dreadful latté sipping, lentil eating, flip-flop wearing leftists talk about. Are you sure you’re in the right place?

It did not have to be this way. Up until the later decades of the twentieth century, attitudes towards the environment did not fall along tribal lines. Conservationists, like President Theodore Roosevelt, were often conservatives. As environmental causes, like the campaigns against DDT and air pollution, gathered storm in the 1970s, however, conservative were dismayed by the apparent tendencies towards big government and internationalism in addressing them. …

Yet conservative premises could have lent themselves to environmentalism. Conservatives believe—or ought to believe—in low time preferences, prudence and restraint, the fragility of order, and the love of home. … Yes, free market capitalism has enabled growth and innovation, but it is also a force for presentism, insecurity and greed. …

All of us hope to enjoy our lives, of course, but much of what we do to help our fellow men, our children, and our children’s children involves sacrificing our immediate enjoyment for the sake of their interests.

I am not suggesting that the Right has to accept all IPCC predictions, or reject the use of fossil fuels in principle, or eat organic food, or listen to folk music. These are questions that thoughtful people can debate. Yet conservatives—and our unruly cousins, libertarians—must stop embracing overly convenient criticism of mainstream science, and avoid getting drunk off idealistic optimism, and resist the indolent desire to wish environmental challenges away. Our higher virtues of order, prudence, restraint, and what Roger Scruton calls “oikophilia” (the love of home) will be respected and not betrayed if we do so.