I’m back in Maine. We love the environment here. Ours is bountiful and beautiful.
It’s also a tremendous resource for our economy. The beauty of nature is one of the main reasons tourism is a big part of that — if our environment degrades, so too will our tourist economy. Our coastline connects us to a huge resource, the seafood for which we’re famous. The best lobster is Maine lobster, but everything to be had from the bounty of the ocean helps drive our economy forward, and helps feed the people of the world. The forest ecology and its abundant wildlife draw many, not just tourists from afar, but Mainers too.
Our environmentalists aren’t just liberal democrats or Greenpeace tree-huggers. Maine is one of few states where conservative republicans have a strong environmental base. For many, it’s the appeal of hunting, fishing, camping. For many others, it’s the economic value of forests, clean water in our lakes, the tremendous fishing industry. And perhaps for all Mainers, you just can’t live in this state without seeing how beautiful nature can be — and feeling, deep in your soul, our duty to preserve that for ourselves and our posterity.
Even our politicians get it, even the republicans. One of our U.S. Senators is Susan Collins, a republican. She’s also at the forefront of environmental protection. Our other senator, independent Angus King, might caucus with the democrats, but he and republican Collins have worked together on countless legislation to further preserve the health and beauty of all nature, not just in Maine but across the U.S. Their cooperation is a model for bi-partisan politics, and everybody benefits. Everybody. I’m proud of them.
When it comes to the issue of environmental protection, here in Maine we get it. Because we’ve got it.
The new administration of president-elect Donald Trump threatens to wreak havoc on our enviroment. The leader of the transition team for the EPA, Myron Ebell, is a climate denier who values dollars for the rich more than nature’s health and beauty for our kids. I think it’s fair to say that he threatens to turn the environmental protection agency into the environmental destruction agency.
The policies likely to come from a U.S. government controlled by the republican party, with utter disregard for preserving nature rather than squeezing every last penny from it, are foolish. They don’t seem to comprehend, let alone care, that we can’t get away with it — the laws enacted by destructive politicians matter nothing to the laws of physics and chemistry.
However much profit they may eke out of our rapidly dwindling resources, mother nature will have the last word. She can be so beautiful, so wonderful, as to inspire poets, but her wrath can be more fierce and terrible than anything we have even imagined. If we are her friend, her caretaker, her protector, she will sustain us with a beautiful life. If we disregard, or worse yet exploit her without the utmost respect, we’ll pay the price. She has the power, not us. She has the power to end us.
The Trump administration and its appointees seem eager to take from nature and give nothing back, not even to clean up the messes we make. But when it comes to nature, in Maine we show respect.
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