As an environmentalist with four decades of observation and experience with The Cause, I would like to respond to Chilton Williamson’s May column (“What Do Environmentalists Want?“). I think most citizens (and environmentalists) want a safe, clean, long-lasting, biologically diverse, and desirable place to live. Even, eventually, a population more in balance with what our resource base can sustain over the long haul. That is not now the case. Most of the environmentalists I know would commend Chronicles for its principled stand against open borders policies and are in a tizzy over the peck-sniffery of the Sierra Club’s argument that the United States is obligated to be the Lifeboat of the World.

Whether we live east or west of the 100th meridian, we environmentalists want safe water, thriving forests, and productive soil; more truth from miners, loggers, ranchers, realtors, and recreationists; and more responsibility from Exxon, ADM, Monsanto, reporters, Bruce Babbitt, Al Gore, and the now over-politicized Greens.

I haven’t asked my colleagues, but I presume they would think that the polluter should clean up his own mess. Most think that the worship of consumer goods that delights Wall Street is decadent and leads to a dead end. We think that it is a radical act, not a conservative impulse, to dump filth into a river or to pollute the air with no concern for the consequences. We admire Wendell Berry, Ed Abbey, Aldo Leopold, Wallace Stegner, John Muir, and others who pondered such questions.

Like Solzhenitsyn, we are not impressed by Al Gore’s promise of a technocratic nirvana, by the arrogance of humanism (wonderfully exposed by ecologist David Ehrenfeld), or by the liars for modernity and progress who keep telling us that every day the environment is getting better and better. Like the Southern Agrarians, we have a vision of what a decent world ought to be.

        —David Tillotson
Lake Milk, WI