Activist Debbie Dooley has some choice words for individuals who believe that fossil fuels have no impact on the environment. “If you think fossil fuel is not damaging the environment,” she says, “pull your car in a garage, start up your engine, and inhale the exhaust fumes for a few minutes and see what happens.”
You could be forgiven for suspecting that Dooley might be a Democrat. According to a Gallup poll conducted last year, 85 percent of Democrats believe humans are contributing to increases in global temperature. But she’s not. Dooley is a conservative, gun-owning Trump supporter who also happens to be a co-founder of the Tea Party.
Dooley runs Conservatives for Energy Freedom, where she advocates for the expansion of renewable energy and for cuts to government regulations she believes hinder that growth. Through her efforts, she has even won over unlikely allies such as Al Gore.
According to Dooley, the problem with her fellow conservatives is that “they’ve been brainwashed for decades into believing we’re not damaging the environment.” As a result, Dooley speaks with them about renewable energy in a political language conservatives respect, using phrases like energy freedom, energy choice, and national security.
When speaking to conservatives in these terms, “you have a receptive audience and they will listen to you,” Dooley says. “If you lead off with climate change, they’re not going to pay a bit of attention to anything else you say.”
Watch this episode of Vox Voices to learn more about how Dooley’s discusses the environment with fellow conservatives and why she thinks caring for the environment is not necessarily anti-Republican.