289: Rob J. Harper, part 1: The Conservative Black Cowboy I met at Google
Most people will find my conversation with Rob unexpected, but talking with someone with his experience and views has long been one of my goals. People keep associating the environment with the political left, but everyone wants clean air, land, and water.
Regular listeners know Rob from my appearing in a video episode, A Different Look At Climate Change, at Magamedia.org—MAGA as in Trump’s Make America Great Again. Rob supports Trump enthusiastically. In New York City, identifying oneself out of the mainstream reads of a heartfelt deliberate decision.
I dislike what I see as the left’s coopting the environment as a wedge issue. I don’t see trying to beat the right as working. I also don’t see combining the environment with things the right dislikes as effective, especially given Trump winning the last presidential election and his environmental views and actions.
If you think the quote I started this episode with of Rob describing the effect of Al Gore’s personal behavior on the right is unfair or irrelevant, I suggest that you’re missing that leadership means understanding what motivates those you want to lead. To learn their beliefs and views.
For context, I recommend listening to my episode describing how we met, episode 266: Thoughts in my MAGA interview, and my appearance in his show.
It’s a long conversation, but if you value people you wouldn’t expect to communicate learning and sharing with each other, you’ll love this episode. Rob shared a lot of conservatives’ motivations around the environment. He also shared some personal environmental values and is acting on them—not because I told him facts, figures, doom, gloom, or to think of the children or other ways I hear people frankly as I see it bludgeoning others to comply.
I can’t wait to keep talking more and to hear his results. Actually, I can’t wait to collaborate more if we can. Partly I want to keep learning perspectives I don’t know, as much as everyone I know who works on the environment hates Trump.
I hope this conversation starts a collaboration to help conservatives enjoy acting on the environment, to share their actions from joy not
coercion. I hope to help make environmental action and legislation as non-partisan as traffic.