Democrats have effectively painted Republicans as disinterested, if not outright antagonistic, on the issue of the environment. Although there are sensible conservative solutions to preserving our natural resources and improving the quality of our air and waterways, Republicans primarily spend their time criticizing the science of climate change. Instead of engaging in such senseless debates, we should focus instead on discussing the environmental changes that people can see with their own eyes. For instance, those who have fished in our rivers and creeks for many years can provide firsthand accounts of the change in water quality. Such everyday experiences of the human impact on the environment can prompt motivation for developing commonsense legislation.
For many, environmental policy is reduced to greater government regulation and more power for the Environmental Protection Agency to investigate and levy fines. It can be difficult for smaller businesses and independent operators to invest in new technologies and replace aging equipment, and threatening stiff penalties will only create motivation to conceal violations. Larger companies will likewise not invest in such innovations if it negatively affects profits. Instead of a heavy-handed punishment-focused approach, we need to incentivize the acquisition and utilization of more ecologically-friendly technologies and methods. Small business grants to purchase cleaner technologies is a start, and creating financial incentives to reach definable goals will further spur efforts to improve the environmentally-friendly nature of our businesses.