Friday, October 21, 2011

Learning from the Past: Balancing Preservation and Urbanization

...quit thinking abut decent land-use as solely an economic problem. Examine each question in terms of what is ethically and aesthetically right, as well as what is economically expedient. A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise....This is a plea for the preservation of some tag-ends of wilderness, as museum pieces, for the edification of those who may one day wish to see, feel, or study the origins of their cultural inheritance. (The Land Ethic from A Sand County Almanac, 1949)
Aldo Leopold - US Forest Service
Aldo Leopold, a behemoth of the conservation movement, was born in 1887.  Leopold attended Yale University's School of Forestry and joined the US Forest Service when the Service was just four years old. During his life he advocated for what would become the first designated wilderness area in the world and wrote countless books, such as the famous A Sand County Almanac, about preserving and living in ecological harmony with the land rather than using it merely as a disposable economic resource.

"...I am glad that I shall never be young without wild country to be young in" said Leopold, bemoaning the destruction of nature, however necessary it may have been for America's early settlers. In the 60 years since his death, that trend of destruction has only continued. Many of us have, in fact, grown up in an era where wilderness was only occasionally experienced during a family vacation - a camping trip or a weekend at a rented cabin.

How can we inspire a new generation to care for nature and promote open space?