Editor, Daily Nexus,

Justin M. Ruhge’s latest rant (Daily Nexus, “University Idealism Is Anything But Right,” May 8, 2003) compelled me to respond with some thoughts I have been having recently about nature.

On our early evening walks my wife and I have been visiting an owl nesting in a large pine tree. We recently noticed two owlets in the same tree, with the parent occasionally glancing up at the youngsters while we gazed admiringly at the three of them. With those owls in mind I question the values of “compassionate conservatives” who influence and direct public policy to violate nature while their rhetoric encourages sick individuals to molest wildlife.

I am convinced that no amount of walks in nature, no amount of literary passages as profound as Thoreau’s “in wildness is the preservation of the world” nor as simple as Dr. Seuss’ “Who will speak for the trees?” and certainly nothing from John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, can persuade the likes of Justin Ruhge that environmental preservation is a worthy endeavor. Rush Limbaugh’s exhortation to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge because “there’s nothing there. … It is the last place on earth you would want to be” typifies the holy quest for profit by the right that minimizes the importance of nature and wilderness. It clearly shows that they just don’t get it.

This nation has the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act and various federal agencies to enforce these and other laws, in addition to state and local regulations, because, thankfully, most Americans value nature and wilderness by supporting environmental protections. More than a few of them – can you believe it? – are even Republicans.