Originally Posted Spring 2008Practicing conservation can bring about love of place (#) by showing the natural beauty that our land has to offer. Community (#)and responsibility (#) are enhanced by people coming together and doing their share to conserve the natural habitats around us.
Conservation is something everyone has heard of and claims to like to part in. We have Earth Day, Arbor Day, land set aside for wildlife habitation, and national parks. However, all of that gets compromised when there is an emphasis on industrial and economic growth on the city and national levels.
The United States is a country that has a wide range of beautiful land and water formations scattered from coast to coast. People quite frequently take vacations to many hot spots that center around the scenery offered. The Appalachian Mountains, Rocky Mountains, sand dunes of Idaho and Nevada, the Great Lakes, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, the Grand Canyon, and even Fort Peck Lake are all sources of great outdoor adventure, spa retreats, and awe-inspiring pictures that will last a life time. Conservation has played a key role in preserving these natural habitats and environments from being developed. Theodore Roosevelt passed the National Park Service Act in 1916 to put aside land and help preserve the environment (Murrin)1.
Today it is becoming a battle of importance between industrial and suburban growth and conservation. Growing cities and factories have covered millions of acres of land that used to be covered in vast vegetation and with lots of wildlife. In our society the more we can produce, the bigger our houses are, and the fancier our vehicles are shows higher status and power. These things that are valued in our society have the tendency to over ride the importance of conservation of our land and wildlife. With forests and farmland being turned into shopping mall parking lots, the ozone layer is being burned through by pollution causing the greenhouse effect, thus temperatures are rising causing the seasons to change. This is proving to have a devastative affect on the entire world.
Traditional methods of conservation have been practiced since the mid 1900’s. Land has been set aside for national parkland or wilderness areas, and habitat or conservation groups have been formed. The Nature Conservancy was formed in 1951 and has been actively leading conservation organization around the world. Their focus is to protect ecologically important land and water sources for nature and people (The Nature Conservancy)2. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established in 1970 to help protect the environment from damages caused by pollution from factories, cars, humans, and other sources of contamination (Environmental Protection Agency)3. The EPA is the reason we have catalytic converters on our cars and factories are required to have filters on their smoke stacks.
That being said, a change in our way of living could help improve our land and restore the value of conservation to the status it once held—important. Eco-friendly communities are out there that have changed their way of living to be in harmony with nature and not work against it. This system of living is based on the term permaculture which is designing and maintaining an agriculturally productive ecosystem that has the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems (Trapese)4. An ecovillage exists in the United States called Earthaven, and it is located in the forested slopes of the Southern Appalachians. Taking on this way of life isn’t costly, and it is simpler if you know how to get started.
Ensure that everyone is aware of potentially cost saving environmentally friendly alternatives to daily activities. A shift of funds from power produced by coal, oil, and other fossil fuels to natural sources of energy like wind and solar power should be made. Show the benefits of permaculture—reduction in the power of big companies, healthier individuals, huge savings made by no longer relying on gas, increase in self-sufficiency, and an increase in community involvement. Also, design cities to be dense so we can walk were we need, and support should be giving to organizations that purchase land trusts, etc., that would put aside land for conservation purposes.
By increasing the value of conservation other values should become more appreciated also. Community (#) involvement will be enhanced with people working together to be eco-friendly. Health (#) will be improved and simplicity (#) will be gained by the increase in knowledge of conservation and its benefits. Patriotism (#) for our “fatherland” will be made important as people realize what our land has to offer and see its beauty and magnificence.