One of my historical role models has always been president Theodore Roosevelt. He was a bold, strong-willed conservative, who cared greatly about the land. It is thanks to him that the national parks exist. I grew up going to different national parks. Yellowstone and Glacier were essentially my backyard, coming from Montana. I had parents who saw the importance of conserving the land, and the knowledge one could gain from visiting these sanctuaries. So while my friends would go to Disneyland and Universal Studios, I would spend my summers in Acadia, Zion, and the Everglades. It was through these experiences that I gained an appreciation for nature’s splendor. But now our world is under attack. The sea levels are rising, the air is becoming toxic, and the trees I once climbed as a child are beginning to disappear.  We can no longer deny the reality that our world is becoming very ill. We must go back to our roots of conserving the land and holding dear the beautiful earth that is around us.

This topic hits home for me, not just because of the beautiful areas that I have had the opportunity to explore, but because it is a core value of my conservative beliefs. And it pains me greatly to see the republican party, the very party claiming to believe in conservative ideals, laying waste to the land all for the sake of profit. I was in shock when President Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris agreement. A president, who ran on the platform of the conservative party, pulling out of the climate change accord to help reduce our emissions. What shocked me even more was that many members of the republican party did not seem to be particularly concerned about this action. The very party of Theodore Roosevelt, the great conservationist of the land, decided to take a step back towards protecting the world. This was unacceptable in my eyes, as there is no profit margin in the world that can compare to how we need the earth. There is not enough oil in the world that competes with our need to protect the land.

We also heavily depend on the health of the world for our own personal health. An example of this is that we need oxygen to breath. Plant life, trees in particular, release oxygen into the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide that we exhale is recycled back into the earth to help produce the air. We are dependent on areas such as the Everglades and the Amazon Rainforest to help us survive. And yet, we see the development of infrastructure ruining the land and destroying the trees. To put it bluntly, we are literally killing ourselves thinking that we are helping ourselves. It is the same idea with water and animal life. We are overfishing our oceans, and it is having devastating effects on the ecosystem. All the while, we burn fossil fuels adding to the emissions in the atmosphere, raising the temperature of the world. In our greed to become a more “civilized race,” we seem to have forgotten the basic necessity of protecting our world.

Right now, it can seem like a hopeless situation. But this is simply not true. We still have the chance to reconsider our actions, and work towards a better future. The renewable energy field is beginning to make its mark on the market. Sources such as hydropower, solar panels and wind farms are becoming more and more of a worthwhile investment. All the while, recycling programs are beginning to take shape across the world and be utilized to their fullest potential. But this does not make a difference if we do not conserve the land around us. More than ever, we must put funding into the national parks, and create more preserves to protect the land from the greed plaguing society. For our own sake, and the sake of the future to come, now is the time to act.