Traditional Family Values Made Me an Environmentalist

By Abbie Walston

I’m a Republican environmentalist with traditional family values, and I owe those to my upbringing. When I think back on my childhood, my best memories took place outdoors. Every season, we spent the majority of our days outside on the farm. In springtime, we collected sap and boiled it down to maple syrup, then kept watch over the animals for the first sign of a new lamb or goat joining our farm family.

In summer, we plowed, planted, weeded and fertilized (on tractor or on foot), made hay and cooled off with a swim. When the leaves changed, we picked apples and pumpkins, and loaded up hayrides full of visitors. And, although farm chores slowed down in the winter, we didn’t stay inside. Instead, we spent our days ice skating on the pond, sledding, building snow men and going for horse-drawn sleigh rides, in between stacking firewood. I feel very fortunate to have had such a wonderful, productive childhood. My family worked together in good times, and in tough times. But there were many more happy than sad days.

Do I sound like your grandmother, reliving the good old days? Do you think the world is very different now than when I was a child? Are these memories of a time gone by? Surprise! I’m only 30 years young. There are children all over the country growing up the same way I did. It may be as part of a farming family in a rural area, growing vegetables in a suburban backyard, or collecting eggs on an urban homestead. The American people are by and large going back to the land.

My husband and I are raising our son Joshua in much the same way I grew up, with the addition of his father’s passions for raising our own animals for meat, fishing and (someday) hunting. At the least, you could call us “outdoorsy.” But, we like to think of ourselves as traditional. We believe in:

  • Sitting down at the table for a family meal, turning off the TV, talking and listening to each other.
  • Working hard and taking pride in what we do, valuing what it takes to earn a dollar and spending that dollar accordingly.
  • Treating others the way we would like to be treated ourselves.
  • Respecting our elders, those who fight for our country, police officers, firefighters and teachers.
  • Getting outside as much as possible and teaching our son Joshua about the world around him.
  • Respecting our natural environment, and preserving it so that our children, and hopefully someday grandchildren and great-grandchildren, will be able to share our love for nature.

These values are what drives my environmental activism. When I write a letter to my representatives in support of legislation to protect the planet, I am doing so in order to preserve this traditional lifestyle for my child. Many families have college funds as a plan for their children’s future, but where will all these educated people live and what will they eat if our air is full of toxins, our water is dangerous to drink, and our soil is not fit to grow food?

Please join the Moms Clean Air Force and help me preserve and protect our natural resources for our children’s future.


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Photo credit: Abbie Walston


William C
William C3 months ago


W. C
W. C3 months ago

Interesting, thank you.

John S.
John S6 years ago

Republican environmentalist is an oxymoron.

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W6 years ago

Any reason is good. :-)

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W6 years ago


Nancy Black
Nancy Black6 years ago

Abbie, if all Republicans had your values, I and most democrats and independents would be
"Happy Campers." Keep up the good work; your example will make your children proud and good citizens.

Shel G.
Shel G6 years ago

I find it confusing that the writer is proud to be a Republican AND an environmentalist, claiming that she is trying to preserve a rural lifestyle for her children. Without being partisan, I think it's accurate to say that Republican policy favors development and economic growth. Republicans are adamant that there should be fewer regulations, not more. This kind of approach is always going to lead to a growth in big farms, urban development of "green" spaces and lack of laws protecting the environment. How on earth are those policies going to protect a "traditional" rural lifestyle??

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L6 years ago

I am 68 years old and a moderate leaning progressive and it does my heart good to listen to the values of this young 30 year old. Gives me hope

Sandy C.
Sandra Conlon6 years ago

I grew up in a Republican family ... back in the day when the meaning of the term "conservative" included an inclination to conserve, to save from depletion, to avoid wasting. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to mean that anymore. I think the author is the exception, not the rule, when it comes to the Republican party. It would be nice to think we are all in this together.... but I rarely see any action in Washington supporting that notion!

John a.
john f6 years ago

I would love to have a rural life for my grandchildren where they could learn about growing and raising animals and all of the wonderful things that nature has to offer, but room to roam is becoming more scarce by the day. It is hart breaking see every little bit of land grabbed for building instead of being used as a garden spot. Local farm land used to be abundant, but now one must drive many miles to see a farm. If we don't get some real leadership in this country who understand the need to address overpopulation and the need to place our helalth over corporate profits, we are in for a very overcrowded and dirty future. They need to drop the excuses. " Well, yeah its dirty, but it creates jobs." That is just the lazy, cowerdly answer that they use so they don't have to make waves. A healthy economy isn't any help to a sick population.