Persons who are conservative on environmental issues have often done an effective job taking charge of the public dialogue. They have done so by a slight of hand, simplistic description of what the issues are. "It's the needs of people versus spotted owls. What's more important?" -- or, "Radical environmentalists are taking away everyone's jobs!" --or, "America means freedom -- freedom from so much regulation!" By defining the issues in simplistic terms, they win over some who have not taken the time to look more closely at their little slight of hand.
Here is where I see the dialogue needs to be redirected: (1) It's not people versus threatened species, it's the long-term health of the planet that gives life to us all versus the short-term benefits some greedy persons want to reap for themselves by ravaging the planet; (2) Environmentalists are not trying to take away people's jobs; rather they are trying to help us shift to environmentally sustainable jobs that are good for us and the planet, jobs that don't choke us with polluted air, or give brain damage to our children through a poisoned water supply; and (3) My freedom stops at the end of the other person's nose. I do not have freedom to do what hurts my neighbors and my community. If I do, I take their freedom. What sine wealthy persons seem to want is the freedom to dominate and oppress the masses without being challenged. If you want to see what "freedom to cut down trees without regulation" does to a country, for instance, take a little trip down to Haiti. Deforestation has destroyed their economy.
This has been a longer post than I intended. But what do others think? How do we reclaim the dialogue?