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Why red states should turn green

Newt Gingrich argues that conservatives have erred in conceding environmental concerns to the Democrats.

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Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Thomas Friedman says environmentalism today suffers from being seen as “liberal,” “girly,” “unpatriotic,” and even “vaguely French. That doesn’t sound like the kind of movement that would appeal to any self-respecting political conservative.

But now Newt Gingrich, the fierce and incendiary conservative speaker of the US House of Representatives in the 1990s, has co-written a small book that aims to gently coax his fellow conservatives into the environmental camp. It’s OK to be green, argues Gingrich and his coauthor, Terry L. Maple, a former president and CEO of Zoo Atlanta and professor of conservation at Georgia Tech University.

A Contract with the Earth aims to play off the “Contract with America,” a set of political promises made by Gingrich and his fellow Republican candidates that helped vault the GOP into power in Congress in 1994.

But “A Contract with the Earth” is much less dynamic and bold than its predecessor. It seems more interested in being inoffensive than calling for radical change. Environmentalists may find its recommendations fall far short of revolutionary.

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