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North Attleborough author looks at conservatives who fought for the environment

By Max

It was back in December when Robert Cote first thought of what would become his new book, “Saving the Planet; A Conservatives Guide.”

This was back when COVID-19 wasn’t the devastating pandemic it has become. Back then, the environment was on the minds of many, said Cote, and in talking with friends he found that many viewed conservatives as being against it or valuing profits above people. Cote himself has penned a number of essays, among them one about conservatives who worked to protect the planet, and decided to collect these into his book, which was recently released.

When I read about Abraham Lincoln, U.S. history courses in college never mentioned what he did [for the environment],” said Cote, a North Attleborough resident. “They mostly focus on the Civil War and being assassinated.”

In Cote’s book, a number of examples are made of conservatives taking steps to preserve the environment. Abraham Lincoln set aside a portion of the land that became Yosemite Park, stating that mining would not be allowed. Teddy Roosevelt worked to establish a number of national parks. Cote also cited Roosevelt’s long history as a big game hunter, though he said that at the time, it was an also an effective way to study wildlife. John F. Kennedy helped to phase out DDT, a chemical used to kill pests but also proved harmful to bees and butterflies. He also looks at local cleanup projects, such as the River Walk in Attleboro and the Blackstone Greenway, a planned 48-mile corridor from Providence to Worcester, a paved trail which runs from Valley Falls to Woonsocket, is part of it.

There was a time when you wouldn’t think of going near the Blackstone River,” said Cote. “The fact that there are fish living there is amazing.”

The foreward is written by Lisa Grasso, a longtime friend of Cote’s and an environmental activist and advocate for sustainable practices. Cote said the two would have lengthy discussions where they’d find themselves agreeing on the end result, just not how to get there.

She might favor a ban, I might favor a phase-out,” said Cote.

Cote opted to self-publish his book and hired a freelance editor to help give it a unifying voice. His wife Louise, a graphic designer, crafted the cover, and Cote said she had the idea before he said anything. He didn’t give himself a deadline, which proved a little problematic when deciding if it was ready to send out. In the end, he made the call and said that if he needs to make a revised version, he’ll do it.

At the very basic level, I’d like everyone to realize there’s more than one way to look at a problem and solve problems,” said Cote. “We have problems and won’t fix them by ignoring them.”


Saving the Planet; A Conservatives Guide” is available through Amazon in print and electronic format.

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