I’m a Republican environmentalist with traditional family values, and I owe those to my upbringing. When I think back on my childhood, my best memories took place outdoors. Every season, we spent the majority of our days outside on the farm. Springtime we collected sap and boiled it down to maple syrup, then kept watch over the animals for the first sign of a new lamb or goat joining our farm family. In summer, we plowed, planted, weeded and fertilized (on tractor or on foot), made hay and cooled off with a swim. When the leaves changed, we picked apples and pumpkins, and loaded up hayrides full of visitors. And, although farm chores slowed down in the winter, we didn’t stay inside. Instead, we spent our days ice skating on the pond, sledding, building snow men and going for horse-drawn sleigh rides, in between stacking firewood. I feel very fortunate to have had such a wonderful, productive childhood. My family worked together in good times, and in tough times. But there were many more happy than sad days.
Do I sound like your grandmother, reliving the good old days? Do you think the world is very different now than when I was a child? Are these memories of a time gone by? Surprise! I’m only 30 years young. There are children all over the country growing up the same way I did. It may be as part of a farming family in a rural area, growing vegetables in a suburban backyard, or collecting eggs on an urban homestead. The American people are by and large going back to the land.
My husband and I are raising our son Joshua in much the same way I grew up, with the addition of his father’s passions for raising our own animals for meat, fishing, and (someday) hunting. At the least, you could call us “outdoorsy.” But, we like to think of ourselves as traditional. We believe in:
- Sitting down at the table for a family meal, turning off the TV, talking and listening to each other.
- Working hard and taking pride in what we do, valuing what it takes to earn a dollar and spending that dollar accordingly.
- Treating others the way we would like to be treated ourselves.
- Respecting our elders, those who fight for our country, police officers, firefighters, and teachers.
- Getting outside as much as possible and teaching our son Joshua about the world around him.
- Respecting our natural environment, and preserving it so that our children, and hopefully someday grandchildren and great-grandchildren, will be able to share our love for nature.
These values are what drives my environmental activism. When I write a letter to my representatives in support of legislation to protect the planet, I am doing so in order to preserve this traditional lifestyle for my child. Many families have college funds as a plan for their children’s future, but where will all these educated people live and what will they eat if our air is full of toxins, our water is dangerous to drink, and our soil is not fit to grow food?
Please join the Moms Clean Air Force and help me preserve and protect our natural resources for our children’s future.
Photo: Abbie Walston