palermoWho would have thought South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford would become the latest joke on the talking head shows?  Isn't it bizarre that he took off for a few days, his wife didn’t know where he was (didn’t anyone learn from John Edwards?), and that he went away on Father’s Day?  Oh yeah, not to mention hiking on National Go Hiking Naked Day.  Oh wait, I started writing this post before the truth came out,  and well, it turned out he was in Argentina, seeing the coast of Buenos Aires, which is about 3 kilometers long--and was enjoying a view very much like this photo--well, I don't know if he bothered with the view, but anyway--

I was curious about Sanford's environmental and energy stance, and while doing a little research, I came across an editorial he wrote to the Washington Post two years ago.  He made some good points, but overall, it was full of cliches.  On one hand, yes, passing regulations is not enough to wean us off of fossil fuels, and of course, the private sector can have a huge role—and I agree it should—in environmental cleanup and clean technology.

So as a “conservative conservationist,” what’s a conservative to do?  Well, the governor didn’t really say.  Sanford was aware of the rising ocean’s effect on South Carolina farms, but other than attacking left-wing fringe groups and mocking Al Gore, he really didn’t give any specifics.  He exhorted conservatives to take the environmental platform away from the Democrats, but . . . did not explain how they could proceed.

I do agree with Sanford that being “environmental” means more than worrying about polar bears and treating our land as if we are the stewards, saving it for future generations.

But right now, clean/green technology needs a little--no--HUGE oomph from the government.  Tax credits, stimulus money (I’m dubious it’ll work on the macro level), feed-in tariffs, and regulations discouraging toxic and wasteful products and processes, can help.  Many of the products we benefit from today are a result of space exploration or military technology—which in the end were funded by .  .  . (big) government.

I guess it’s really true that the emperor, I mean governor, has no clothes!

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of Based in California, he specializes in social media consulting and strategic communications. A journalist and writer since 2009, his work has appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Areas of interest include the <a Middle East, sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at You can also reach out via Twitter (Leon Kaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). Since 2013, he has spent much of his time in Abu Dhabi, UAE, working with Masdar, the emirate's renewable energy company. He lives in Fresno, California.