'It's not easy being green'

By Ken Esten Cooke— Two events in September can help raise our awareness of the environmental challenges that everyone in the nation faces.

Saturday’s Sustainable Homes Tour, sponsored by Fredericksburg SHINES, saw nine homeowners open their doors for people to look at a variety of green building initiatives, from simple recycling bins and rainwater catchment systems, to solar panel and advanced green building techniques. While only in its first year, the event showcased what locals are doing to use less energy and save water — laudable goals in most any corner.

The 13th Annual Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair will be held Sept. 27-29 at Marktplatz and will showcase the latest in green initiatives. It’s a great place to learn more, if you’re already up on the subject, or start your education, if you are not.

Sadly, some efforts like this draw criticism from ultra-conservative corners. Yet the very root of conservatism is “conserve,” and history has had great examples in Theodore Roosevelt, who spearheaded creation of our national parks, Barry Goldwater, whose love of the American Southwest drove some of his decisions, and, more recently, Newt Gingrich, who coined the term “green conservatism” in a debate with John Kerry on the issue of environmentalism.

National Review writer Rod Dreher also wrote a book, “Crunchy Cons,” about social conservatives who embrace environmental causes. And remember “Prius Patriots,” conservatives who advocated for better gas mileage and less importing of oil from countries who were hostile to American interests?

             In short, we are glad to see events like these in Fredericksburg. Things like well-insulated walls and rainwater collection are a part of our Hill Country pioneer heritage. Let’s support these efforts.

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