While the environment is a very polarizing issue in today’s political world, it wasn’t always that way. Some of the greatest conservative thinkers were environmentalists. Fortunately, some of today’s biggest conservative leaders are returning to our movement’s green roots. Here are the 25 best environmental quotes from famous conservatives, both past and present:

  1. “It’s we Conservatives who are not merely friends of the Earth — we are its guardians and trustees for generations to come.” – Margaret Thatcher

  2. “Preservation of our environment is not a liberal or conservative challenge, it’s common sense.” – Ronald Reagan

  3. “I’m against pollution and think we should minimize pollution, whether or not the models are correct” – Rand Paul

  4. “Conservation is a great moral issue, for it involves the patriotic duty of insuring the safety and continuance of the nation.” – Theodore Roosevelt

  5. “Nothing is more conservative than conservation.” – Russell Kirk

  6. “While I am a great believer in the free enterprise system and all that it entails, I am an even stronger believer in the right our people to live in a clean and pollution-free environment.” – Barry Goldwater

  7. “Our physical health, our social happiness, and our economic well-being will be sustained only by all of us working in partnership as thoughtful, effective stewards of our natural resources.” – Ronald Reagan

  8. “The preservation of the environment and our natural resources for future generations should be a priority for us all.” – Rep. Ryan Costello

  9. “The philosophical debate should take place on how we solve environmental problems, not whether or not they should be solved.” – Gordon K. Durnil

  10. “Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed.” – Richard Nixon

  11. “Our Environmental Protection Agency should be told to work in conjunction with business, industry and universities to find the most eco-friendly ways of developing our energy resources.” – Ben Carson

  12. “And as we develop the frontier of space, let us remember our responsibility to preserve our older resources here on Earth.” – Ronald Reagan

  13. “I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us.” – Theodore Roosevelt

  14. “Instead of sweeping mandates, we must use America’s power of innovation to develop alternative sources of energy and new technologies that use energy more efficiently.” – Mitt Romney

  15. “We have too long treated the natural world as an adversary rather than as a life-sustaining gift from the Almighty. If man has the genius to build, which he has, he must also have the ability and the responsibility to preserve.” – Gerald Ford

  16. “The duty to Nature will remain long after our own endeavors have brought peace to the Middle East. It will weigh on our shoulders for as long as we wish to dwell on a living and thriving planet, and hand it on to our children and theirs.” – Margaret Thatcher

  17. “Future generations — my children and grandchildren, along with yours — will have to live with the decisions we make today. And so it is time for us to make some tough and — hopefully — smart choices regarding our energy use and production before it is too late.” – John McCain

  18. “You are worried about what man has done and is doing to this magical planet that God gave us. And I share your concern. What is a conservative after all but one who conserves, one who is committed to protecting and holding close the things by which we live…” – Ronald Reagan

  19. “We don’t need to have either a thriving economy or a clean environment. We can have both.” – Rep. Mia Love

  20. “As we work to expand our supplies of energy, we should also recognize that we must balance those efforts with our concern to preserve our environment.” – Richard Nixon

  21. “I believe in a sound, strong environmental policy that protects the health of our people.” – Ronald Reagan

  22. “I respect the creation that the Lord has given us and I want to make sure we protect it” – John Kasich

  23. “They should not think it among their rights to cut off the entail, or commit waste on the inheritance, by destroying at their pleasure the whole original fabric of their society; hazarding to leave to those who come after them a ruin instead of an habitation” – Edmund Burke

  24. “It’s not easy being a green conservative, but if we conservatives want to be true to our principles we have to move in that direction. It is morally right. It is religiously correct. It is economically prudent. It strengthens national defense. And it makes a better world for our children, and our children’s children” – Rod Dreher

  25. “Many laws protecting environmental quality have promoted liberty by securing property against the destructive trespass of pollution.” – Ronald Reagan