Benji Backer
Photo: Courtesy of Benji Backer

Climate action and environmentalism are often stereotyped as liberal causes. But college student Benji Backer wants to change that.

Backer: “Knowing a lot of young conservatives who felt left behind in these issues, I realized that there needed to be an organization to represent young conservatives who believed in pro-environmental values. Looking back at history, Republicans and conservatives were environmental stewards and made a lot of the great decisions in terms of environmental policies.”

So last year Backer founded the American Conservation Coalition. The organization works with conservative groups on college campuses to rally Republican students around free-market solutions to environmental problems.

Backer: “Climate discussions have only revolved around big government solutions, for the most part. And if you’re a conservative and you hear that, you get turned away from that issue which is just too bad because there are so many other alternatives.”

The group has released a letter encouraging the GOP to support clean energy, and is working on an environmental scorecard of Republicans in Congress.

Backer: “We’re hoping that in 2018 and 2020 the educated millennials and college students that we’re working with can go out and support pro environmental conservatives.”

Reporting credit: Alison Fromme/ChavoBart Digital Media.

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Daisy Simmons

Daisy Simmons is a freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in research-driven storytelling. In addition to contributing to Yale Climate Connections since early 2016, she also...