Campus News

New book explores environment, politics

Loving Nature, Fearing the State: Environmentalism and Antigovernment Politics before Reagan
Brian Allen Drake
University of Washington Press
Hardcover: $34.95

A “conservative environmental tradition” in America may sound like a contradiction in terms, but as Brian Allen Drake, a lecturer in Franklin College’s history department, shows in Loving Nature, Fearing the State, right-leaning politicians and activists have shaped American environmental consciousness since the environmental movement’s beginnings.

Drake argues that “antistatist” beliefs-an individualist ethos and a mistrust of government-have colored the American passion for wilderness, but also complicated environmental protection efforts. While most of the successes of the environmental movement have been enacted through the federal government, conservative and libertarian critiques of big-government environmentalism increasingly have resisted the idea that strengthening state power is the only way to protect the environment.

Loving Nature, Fearing the State traces the influence of conservative environmental thought through the stories of important actors in post-war environmental movements.