Thursday, May 28, 2009

Conservation vs. Environmentalism

Tony Dean was recently awarded the Conservation Achievement Award by the National Wildlife Federation, according to the Argus Leader. Tony devoted much of his life to addressing issues of preservation, erosion, and conservation issues.

Tony makes a great point in an article on his website in reference to grazing land, but it really applies everywhere. He said that “Used properly, this is good land. Abused, it becomes poor land.”

Moderation is key in anything we do. Pursuing purely economic goals must be weighed against its impacts, lest we risk losing valuable natural resources and beauty that we may never be able to get back. Conservation is important, but should not be confused with environmentalism, which is extreme, such as when it goes so far as to keep us from eating beef, and meat in general.

But we do need to be conscious of how we go about our economic development in a sustainable way. For example: how we develop wind energy. We need to do so in a way that we preserve our natural assets (such as wetland habitats valuable for hunting and waterfowl populations), as well as maximizing our economic potential for this resource.

To quote Teddy Roosevelt: "We of an older generation can get along with what we have, though with growing hardship; but in your full manhood and womanhood you will want what nature once so bountifully supplied and man so thoughtlessly destroyed; and because of that want you will reproach us, not for what we have used, but for what we have wasted...So any nation which in its youth lives only for the day, reaps without sowing, and consumes without husbanding, must expect the penalty of the prodigal whose labor could with difficulty find him the bare means of life."

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