Reads of the Week: Obstacles to Infrastructure, College Alternatives, and Conservative Environmentalism - America's Future

April 23, 2021

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Reads of the Week: Obstacles to Infrastructure, College Alternatives, and Conservative Environmentalism

By: AF Editors

Each week, we’ll be featuring opinion pieces from the alumni and current participants of AF’s Writing Fellows Program. A few highlights from the past week are below. Do you dream of having bylines like these? Learn more about how the Writing Fellows Program can help boost your writing career!

NEPA: Vehicle of Vetocracy? by Jordan McGillis (Spring 2020) and Paige Lambermont (Spring 2020) in Exponents

In April 2020, Silicon Valley heavyweight Marc Andreessen penned a jeremiad against what he saw as a widespread inability to build. By “build”, Andreessen meant everything from producing covid tests, to starting business ventures, to putting up housing blocks, to laying down rail lines.

Andreessen’s essay captured a near-universal frustration across the tech and future-of-governance worlds with a perceived culture of complacency. Andreessen brought a new cohesion to an amorphous rebellion against such a culture, a rebellion embodied by entrepreneurs like Patrick Collison, who has spearheaded “progress studies,” and Trevor McKendrick, who has made “Build 2021” a rallying cry with his influential newsletter…

Fast Track: The Merits of Short-Term Credentialing by Neetu Arnold (Summer 2020) in The American Conservative

Many Americans started thinking more seriously about job security after unemployment rates peaked in the midst of the coronavirus lockdowns. Naturally, they turned to education; for decades, the bachelor’s degree has been perceived as the hallmark to a stable career path with secure employment. But desperate times had Americans looking for quicker and cheaper options.

Enter short-term credentials, certificates, and other sub-baccalaureate programs. While such programs have existed for years, they are now of greater interest as various tech companies create their own short-term credentials for in-demand jobs. Universities are getting in on the action too: The University of Utah wants to offer short-term programs by partnering with businesses. As these credentials continue to garner interest, Congress is even considering extending federal funds to programs of length less than 15 weeks…

On Earth Day, a Case for Conservative Environmentalism by Quill Robinson (Spring 2020) in National Review

“Climate action now” is the rallying cry of many in my generation. Many of us, myself included, accept what science tells us: that we are inheriting a world where our health, livelihoods, and future families are threatened by rising sea levels and warming temperatures. What we do not accept is inaction, which is why millions of us are demanding positive steps from our leaders.

Typically, such enthusiasm is associated with the Left, as was the case in the 2020 election, when climate change was a major factor explaining young people’s support for Joe Biden. As a result, conservatives tend to downplay environmentalism, and to roll their eyes at anyone who so much as notes Earth Day. But this is a mistake. Conservative environmentalism is not only real and legitimate, but also provides more hope for the future of the planet than its left-wing variety. Take it from me: Climate change is the reason I became a conservative…