Green!  . . . by ALL MEANS 

John Brower

2.

  Conservation in the Classroom


The Governors' Conference was a milestone in conservation, but it was almost silent about preservation. T.R. himself had some pertinent remarks about saving beautiful places, but among the other conferees there was only one, J. Horace McFarland, who dwelt on the subject. He and Muir had a mutual friend, Robert Underwood Johnson,at the old Century Magazine, and it was probably Johnson who wrote in an editorial two years later:

"The official leaders of the conservation movement . . . have never shown a cordial, much less aggressive, interest in safeguarding our great scenery.

"The fact is," he went on, "there is no more popular and effective trumpet call for the conservation movement than the appeal to the love of beautiful natural scenery. In this matter the idealists are more practical than the materialists."

Johnson spoke briefly of the economic value of great natural scenery and then related beauty to status: "The first thing that a man does after he obtains competence is to invest his money in some sort of beauty . . . He settles in some town, suburb, or other region mainly because it is beautiful, and he is all the happier if his home can command an attractive natural view."

"What is needed," he concluded, "is the inculcation, by every agency, of beauty as a principal, that life may be made happier and more elevating for all the generations who shall follow us, and who will love their country more devotedly the more lovable it is made."

This was part of the lament that there had been so much ado at the Governors' Conference about the practical utilization of commercial resources, and so little about the beauty.

The lament could well be much louder now, for since the Governors' Conference we have used up, scattered, or otherwise lost to the future more natural resources than all previous history.

 

Next Page --->

 

THE WILDNESS WITHIN US