The Conservation Challenge of the Sixties
Stewart L. Udall
Given at Berkeley, California April 19, 1963
The Concept of Conservation
Horace Albright, among Americans who are alive today, has few equals in his awareness of the importance of conservation of natural resources and the conservation of our total environment. I hope my appearance here will be regarded as an act of personal homage to him.
A year ago President John F. Kennedy, in his March 1 special conservation message to Congress - the first presidential message of its kind in many years to be delivered to the Congress - undertook to do something that no other president has attempted; namely, to define the word "conservation". Conservation is difficult to define because it is a dynamic and constantly changing concept. But the President wrote in his message: "Conservation...can be defined as the wise use of our natural environment: it is, in the final analysis, the highest form of national thrift - the prevention of waste and despoilment while preserving, improving and renewing the quality and usefulness of all our resources." A little more than fifty years ago our dictionaries did not contain the word "conservation". The word, like the concept for which it stood, grew out of the ruminations of Gifford Pinchot and some of his friends. They applied it first to the idea of saving our forests and using them wisely. It was later applied to water and to minerals and it now, if we can see it properly, is a concept so broad in scope that it includes all of our dealings with natural resources and with our total environment as well.
If the forester and the reclamation engineer symbolized the conservation effort during Theodore Roosevelt's time, and the TVA planner and the CCC tree planter typified the New Deal, the swift ascendancy of technology has made the scientist the symbol of the sixties: his ultimate instruments, the reactor and the rocket, have opened the door to an inexhaustible storehouse of energy and may yet reveal the secrets of the stars. I think a historical look at the subject of conservation would reveal an ebb and flow, with two high tides in conservation, one under Theodore Roosevelt and one under his cousin Franklin. Some of us would like to think, although this depends upon you and others like you, that we are on the verge of the third wave.
For the first time in history a note of optimism pervades the resource reports of our experts. Conservation, we are told, is now largely a problem of efficient management. Most scarcities will be the result of poor planning or inadequate research. The central difference, in conservation, between the New Deal and the New Frontier, seems to relate to the dominance of scientific research and science-oriented planning in resource management. Science and technology hold the keys to the kingdom of abundance - and planning, long a favorite whipping-boy of "practical" men, is now the one indispensable science. Aided by the men of science, in some resource sectors we have reversed our course: we produce more, waste less, and make the needs of the future an integral part of our computations. We will no longer be able to explain away our shortcomings by pleading ignorance or incapacity. We have the insight and the power to conserve, and the existence of what I will call "areas of quiet crisis in resource management" indicts us, separately and collectively, for our failure to act.
The Role of Science
The climax of human knowledge that this century represents, and its hope for higher fulfillment, is revealed dramatically by one astounding fact: of all the scientists in all human history who have ever lived, about nine out of ten are alive and at work today. For every scientist we had in 1933 we have six or more in 1963, and I am using the term scientist in its broadest and most legitimate sense. We are eyewitnesses to the longest broad jump of change in human history, and our singular conservation achievements make our failures all the more conspicuous. And yet science itself is a paradox - it holds out the hope of new abundance and, at the same time, threatens us and our environment with new hazards.
The level of military preparedness required in the last twenty years by the cold war has necessarily made lopsided our total performance, in terms of conservation and resources: we are in the process of conquering "outer" space but we are neglecting "inner" space, the space that is our home. However, we have put a spur to science that has quickened the promise of life. While the agents of progress have solved problems in some resource areas, they have created a crisis in others: we developed the art of atomic fission in the 1940's and the continuing revolution in research will enable us to desalt the seas, turn shale rocks into oil, and breed energy from stones - but we may make a shambles of our environment unless we act in time to save it. This is part of the paradox of progress.
Beset by kaleidoscopic events, the conservation movement itself, now an intricate and interlocking effort on a hundred fronts, has at times become confused. Some of our most successful conservors - the research scientists and the scientific farmers, for example - have in many cases not considered themselves conservationists at all, while the contemporary disciples of Thoreau and Muir have too often drawn a circle that made them the sole custodians of the conservation concept. The conservation idea, I should like to suggest, is as broad and as complex as modern life itself and we must follow Gifford Pinchot's lead and adapt it to the resource problems of our generation if we are to perform our stewardship role properly.
The irony of our situation is that the quiet crisis in conservation of the 1960's arises, in part, from our very success as a nation. As science opens up new avenues of abundance it also opens up new opportunities for careless exploitation - and the classic pattern of the past repeats itself. The modern land raiders, and I use that word raiders with special force, like their predecessors of last century, insist always that the present is paramount and assert their right to misuse the land. The operator of a manufacturing plant that befouls the air, or the owner of a pulp mill that corrupts a river, who asks the insolent question, "What is more important, payrolls or picnics?" is really saying something like this: "The public be damned! Let the government, or those who live downwind or downstream, undo the damage I have caused." Such materialistic thinking dismisses environment preservation as "mere esthetics." And yet, it seems that we have reached the point now where what some had called in the past intangible things are now very tangible indeed, and what some have called the amenities are now perhaps becoming necessities if we are to have a fruitful life.
Our Changing Conservation Philosophy
This insolent spirit is also the implicit philosophy of the sub-divider, the philosophy of the raider who bulldozes a streamside woodland, the billboard advertiser who blocks the highway with eyesores, and the municipalities that dump sewage into our bays and riverways.
It should be perfectly clear, I think, that no one has a "right" to pollute the air or water or to despoil the last remaining areas of green countryside around our cities - any more than the 19th century resource raiders had a right to strip the forests or exhaust the soil. Today, as in the past century, the most intolerable forms of waste are those which spoil the quality and the usefulness of resources all of us must share.
The answer, of course lies in a new land ethic, and new forms of social control. We can have clean air, clean rivers and a green countryside the moment that we decide our environment should have parity with payrolls and profits. Once, by law, we make pollution abatement, for example, part of the cost of doing business, men in laboratories will quickly devise machines and gadgets to control the things that cause contamination.
But the erosion of our environment will continue unless we make public rights paramount, which means that we put the future first. The conservation of man, through the conservation of his environment, must become a major national objective and the pursuit of "progress" and the pursuit of happiness must be harmonized if, in the long run, our society is to flourish.
The sad fact is that the 19th century Myth of Superabundance - the idea that we have such unending resources of forests and soil that it didn't matter how we dealt with them as husbandmen - has been supplanted by what we might call the Myth of Scientific Supremacy. Striding about as supermen, we tolerate great imbalances in resource uses, and shrug off the newer forms of erosion with a let-science-fix-it-tomorrow attitude. This rationalization is potentially as destructive as the mischievous rain follows-the-plow slogan of those who a few decades ago turned the land of the Great Plains into a Dust Bowl. Regrettably, the very men who are quickest to rely on the Myth of Scientific Supremacy are the same men who are usually opposed, or grounds of "economy", to the investment of public funds an the voting of public laws to do the conservation work of today
Clearly, the task of wise resource management is now a join venture among government, universities, and the managers of industry. Much of our success in conservation during this generation has resulted from the increasing commitment of American business to conservation research and conservation practices. By their very nature, however, governments must plan for the long haul and concentrate on long-term projects, but enlightened men of business have also learned that it is good business to look to the horizon. The creative competition of our industrial laboratories and the striving for more efficient use of raw materials has spurred constructive patterns of growth, while enabling us to use our resources with more insight.
But the front-line of what once was a rather simple movement, the conservation movement, now stretches from uranium to wildlife, from salmon to soils, from wilderness to water, and any conservation inventory must include a review of our total public and private effort. The work of the 1960's can be a stepping stone to a balanced future, and the creative leadership that President Kennedy has offered has seen new plans and programs presented to meet the challenge.
Let us examine some of these programs - and the "state of the union" as far as our resources are concerned.
New Sources of Energy
Our supreme conservation achievement this century has been the discovery of a self-renewing source of energy. So far as energy was concerned, the threat of shortage and eventually famine crippled our earlier thinking. The atomic scientists uncovered the edge of an infinite dynamo in Chicago in 1942, and the task for the future is to perfect techniques that will make it a versatile, safe source of power. We are consuming our fossil fuels at an alarming rate. Large reserves remain, but the fission of the atom has allayed our fears of fuel exhaustion.
In addition, the fine research teams of the petroleum industry have more than doubled oil-pool recoveries, and are now developing a process to transform the vast shale beds of the Colorado plateau into oil. In due course the self-refueling "breeder" reactors, and the development of controlled fusion, may make our fossil deposits more valuable as raw materials than for combustion.
The federal effort is, as I see it at the present time, three-pronged. The first line is the Atomic Energy Commission's accelerating nuclear power development. Men in AEC laboratories are searching for the final secrets of fission and fusion. Second, the optimum development of the renewable waterpower of our rivers has been quickened, and a pioneering power plant to harness the continuous energy of the tides may be proposed soon at Passamaquoddy in Maine. Third, the integration of our electric power systems is being encouraged, and public and private region-to-region transmission lines carrying very high voltages will soon add to the efficiency of our over-all electric plant.
Products of the Land
Another sector of resources includes the products of our land. Although a magnificent natural endowment of superlative soils has been the basis for our agricultural success, we have built solidly on that basis in the 20th century with conservation practices that have turned agriculture into a science. Men like Luther Burbank and Hugh Hammond Bennett, of soil conservation fame, and hundreds of anonymous researchers in agronomy, plant genetics and plant pathology have joined forces to make the land yield record harvests.
Fortunately, agri-science and the farm experimenters of the land-grant universities were favored by the Congress for many years, and for decades more than half of the federal appropriations for research went to agriculture. These wise investments now fill our granaries to overflowing, and make it possible for us to share our surplus - and our land wisdom - with people in all parts of the world.
Nor have our successes been confined to crops. Science-minded farmers and stockmen excel in raising animals, and the Pinchot gospel has taught our commercial tree farmers to respect the growth-cycles and growth potential of our woodlands.
Water, in some regions, is already on the edge of crisis, and the "mining" of groundwater supplies in some parts of the Pacific Southwest is so extensive that the desert is reclaiming parts of its old domain. But the greatest water problem throughout the nation today is the senseless and extravagant waste that results from the pollution of our rivers and streams by the sewage of cities and industries - a practice as blind and destructive as that which led to the leveling of our finest forests. A pollution control program is getting underway, but most of our rivers today are a national disgrace and our water awakening is still in the future.
The quiet crisis in water is also magnified by the Myth of Scientific Supremacy - the mistaken notion that a quick trick of science will some day make the oceans potable, a program for which my department has responsibility. Such a myth could prevent us from facing the facts. Even if the cost of desalinization is sharply reduced, as it probably will be soon, transportation charges will make desalted sea water of use chiefly along the seacoasts. Water is the one imperative resource, and the growth of many areas will be stunted unless science and common-sense husbandry come to the rescue. We will not learn how to conserve water until we respect the geography of water.
Today our river-basin planning is in arrears, some states are making only a half-hearted effort to combat pollution, and our conservation practices are primitive or haphazard. Worse, our posture of preparedness is poor: our corps of water scientists is much too small, our investment in basic research is dangerously low, and we are only now taking a tardy look at what we could achieve through reclaiming and recycling available supplies of water.
The President's water prescription is a broad one, and if it stimulates
an adequate level of effort by the states and by industry it can
help solve many upcoming water problems. It includes:
The making of comprehensive plans for all major river basins - and the construction of multi-purpose reservoirs to provide adequate storage;
Larger investments in basic and interdisciplinary research on water resources, and the establishment of new water research centers in many of our land-grant universities;
Applied research that will enlarge our knowledge of rainmaking, the control of evaporation, and behavior of groundwater aquifers;
A sustained federal-state effort to cleanse our rivers;
The development of a low-cost process of desalting sea water.
We can have clean water - and have enough of it - if we become water savers and recognize in time the importance of the hydro-sciences.
Minerals and Marine Resources
The 6 per cent of the people who reside in the United States, and this is a very significant fact in relation to international politics, consume over 30 per cent of the world's raw material production, and we depend on imports for most of our supplies of more than a dozen major minerals. In minerals, international interdependence is the trend: nature's distribution is so capricious that we will approach a true common market of natural resources in this area more quickly than in any other. The mineral situation of tomorrow is indicated by the forceful fact that already foreign students outnumber American graduate students in the courses offered by the mining schools of the United States.
Our internal problem relates principally to waste, inadequate research, the depletion of some deposits, and to the need for improvement of extraction and processing techniques. Industry carries the heaviest load in mineral conservation and research. The federal effort should be directed toward the most difficult exploration and extraction problems, basic geologic research, the conservation of helium, for example, and emphasis on salvage arid re-use.
However, today minerals are not only found - they are "created": many previously unusable substances - taconites, beryllium, aluminum, and molybdenum, for example - have been put to use through the alchemies of modern science.
The atmosphere and the oceans, save for the continental shelves and the littoral zones, are two resources that are owned in common by all of the people of the world. The oceans are, all agree, also an area of quiet crisis: save for a few far-sighted treaties, we have no common plan of management, and our inquiries into the biology of sea life and the nature of sea resources are superficial.
This unknown marine domain comprises the submerged 71 per cent of the earth's surface, and in its depths lies a vast storehouse of the resources of the future. Once a plan for processing is perfected, for example, enormous schools of what we now call "trash fish" can be converted into fish flour or protein concentrate that may alleviate much of the protein diet deficiency which afflicts two-thirds of the people of the world. Because of ignorance and inadequate international planning, the resources of the sea are overexploited on the one hand and underdeveloped on the other. The law of the sea is as inchoate as its code of conservation, and the law of hunt-and-capture prevails-the law of the jungle as it were, reminiscent of the buffalo range in our own country. There will, one suspects, be much lamenting over vanishing sea species before necessity compels the nations to act. Oceanographic research has been nearly tripled and events will surely force the sea-oriented countries to plan the preservation of the renewable resources of the sea just as they have already successfully saved the fur seals and the salmon.
The Total Outdoor Environment
The quiet crisis in conservation in our country today is most acute when we consider our total outdoor environment. The assault on things natural has been massive during die past two decades. This has been perhaps the most significant conservation fact of the past generation. If it continues unimpeded, the face of the land and our relationship with it will be drastically and irrevocably altered. Our fascination with the dazzling things of an inventive era has seemingly diminished our love for the land. This trend has, of course, been quickened by the emphasis on urbanization and mobility, the seductions of spectatorship, the requirements of industrial growth, and the air-conditioned advantages that have made glassed-in living so appealing. It is understandable that, in hectic times, a sedentary and city-bound people would witness the erosion of outdoor resources without alarm.
But let us not mistake it. The deterioration of our environment has been the paramount conservation failure of the postwar years, and this is the sort of thing that would be disturbing above all to a sensitive man such as Horace Albright. Beset on every side by problems of growth and the pressures of progress, the American earth is fast losing its spaciousness and freshness and green splendor. We have grown too fast to grow wisely, and the inspiriting parts of our land will be irreparably mutilated unless we make environment planning and environment preservation urgent items of public business.
I speak tonight in the most populous state in the union; a year ago I was in Vermont, a state that didn't grow at all during the past ten years. I happened to talk at that time to Senator George Aiken, who is somewhat of a philosopher. He wasn't disturbed about his state's lack of growth. Instead, he said to me: "Well, when we look around us at what's happening in other parts of the world - the type of growth that has taken place - we aren't too disturbed. We are going to wait a while and grow right." Not long before that my wife and I had spent a weekend visiting Robert Frost at his Vermont home and he told us how Vermont for many years had a brochure of the type that publicizes the state, a brochure that bore the legend "Come to unspoiled Vermont for your vacation." And he said he used to take it into restaurants and write on the bottom "And help us spoil it." So maybe we have grown too fast to grow wisely. But the center of the quiet crisis of the sixties lies here, today, where we are permanently fixing our pattern of land-use. The man-to-nature relationships of the future will largely be determined in our time, the period of time that you and I live. We forget sometimes that the outdoors, the world around us, has always had a special place in the American scheme of things - and is also our home.
Land conservation in the 1960's is, like everything else, a complex business. It involves the appropriation of public funds, the enactment of laws, and of zoning ordinances, and a nationwide marshalling of public opinion. Organizations and indi-viduals in your community or in others can win a last-ditch fight to save a marsh here or a strip of seashore there, but this is not enough. The days fifty years ago when large-scale preservation work could be done by the flourish of a president's pen, or through the use of emergency funds in the depths of a depression, are long past. We can do significant conservation work now only if presidents and governors and legislatures and congresses and zoning boards and city councils really care about our continent and are really ready to act. A few national tasks perhaps deserve a higher priority, but conservation must take its place at the head table at budget time or our best efforts will fall short. We have moved from a condition of land surplus in this country to one of land shortage, and our national policy has now come full circle. East of the Mississippi today, we face a situation where nearly all of our public lands were sold off in haste a century and a half ago. The improvidence of a policy of unlimited disposal is apparent on every hand. Choice lands that were virtually given away must now be purchased at almost prohibitive prices and returned to public ownership to fulfill the demand for outdoor recreation for the great urban populations. Scenic tracts, such as Cape Cod in Massachusetts, Fire Island on Long Island in the state of New York, which were available at a modest cost only a few years ago are today almost beyond the reach of the public purse.
The outdoor problem has been studied with thoroughness and with vision. The 1962 report of the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission contained a comprehensive set of findings and guidelines. Do we have the will to implement this report? This is the issue we confront, for prime opportunities are lost each year as superb tracts most suitable for public use are pre-empted or despoiled. Each year the price of preservation spirals, and the inroads increase. If large areas are to be preserved it is no exaggeration to say that what this generation saves is all that will be saved.
To meet this quiet crisis President Kennedy has initiated programs that cover the whole spectrum of outdoor resources, has expanded old programs, and his proposals serve both to define our problems and to point the way toward some solutions. We can accomplish, in the 1960's feats of conservation worthy of the two Roosevelts if we act in time, and act in concert.
The President's Program
The President's conservation-of-environment program today includes these things:
A Wilderness Bill (the proposal initiated more than a decade ago by the Wilderness Society) which would preserve roughly 2 per cent of the American land mass in its pristine condition, and fix the wilderness idea for all time as part of our national character. These remaining wild lands constitute an irreplaceable laboratory for the scientist, offer outdoor experience of the highest quality, and protect the headwaters of many of our major rivers. Wilderness legislation will, so some of us argue, give a wholesome dimension of depth to our land-use planning - indeed, it will be a pioneering act that may influence the conservation movement on other continents. Many nations no longer have a wilderness option; we must take ours up before it is too late.
We also have a last chance, in Alaska, to show the reverence for wilderness our forebears lacked. The wonders of the wilderness still abound in our next to newest state, and if we spoil them we cannot excuse ourselves with a plea of ignorance.
The second: The Land and Water Conservation Fund now pending as a proposal before the Congress will dedicate new federal user fees and other special revenues as a land-purchase fund to acquire prime land and water parklands for the future. This law reverses the policy that began in 1784, and conservation lands will now be added, by purchase, to the public estate. This special fund will, if Congress passes it this year:
Produce a broad-scale effort by all of the states in the Preservation of the out-of-doors (a few states - notably California, New Jersey, New York and Wisconsin - already have such programs, but most do not);
Finance acquisition to save the best seashores for public use and provide public lands around federal reservoirs;
Underwrite new wildlife refuges for threatened species of wildlife;
Provide funds for new national parks, new national recreation areas, and those lands needed to develop the full outdoor recreation potential of the national forests.
Another program is the Open Space Aid for Cities program, authorized in 1961. This landmark program encourages urban areas to plan ahead and to preserve tomorrow's Central Parks and Golden Gate Parks today.
The Youth Conservation Corps already passed by the Senate (conceived as a permanent land maintenance force by President Franklin D. Roosevelt a generation ago) will let Congress help us rebuild parts of the land and heal its worst scars.
Also, The Preservation of Selected Rivers having superior recreational values (such as the Allagash of Maine, the Suwanee of Georgia and Florida, the Deschutes of Oregon, the Salmon River of Idaho, and the Ozark River of Missouri) will mark another new frontier of conservation.
A System of Scenic Roads and Parkways, a movement already afoot in this state, lags behind nationally, but is designed to give balance to our road-building program and open up the scenic hinterlands to unhurried drivers who prefer scenery to celerity.
The Wetlands Preservation Bill of 1961 is enabling us to acquire now the marshlands needed to sustain waterfowl populations - and we will let the duck hunters pay for them later.
A New Policy Toward Military Lands will treat these lands as a national reserve and enable us to identify tracts suitable for transfer to public agencies for conservation purposes.
And finally, All Fresh Water Resources created by federal funds will have their fish, wildlife and recreation potential fully developed.
But this is only part of the program. These are the forward thrusts of our policy that the America of the future should be beautiful and healthy, as well as industrially productive. In addition, we must curb increasing environmental contamination by means of:
An all-out attack on water pollution;
Research into air pollution control;
Regulating the kind of strip-mining that poisons rivers arid uses up a nonrenewable resource while making a wasteland of some of the best outdoor recreation areas in the east;
Research directed against the unwise use of pesticides;
Action to combat the pollution of ocean estuaries and the littoral land.
However, assuming that most of the programs I have mentioned are successful (and some will not be supported adequately), other problems will increasingly complicate the decisions of our resource planners. These will concern such things as population pressures, the order we give to our planning of that part of our environment we construct and remake ourselves, and the conflicting ideas of different resource-user groups.
As our land base shrinks it is inevitable that incompatible plans involving factories and fish, dams and parks, highways and wildlife, will collide. Unless the alternatives are carefully evaluated many wrong choices will be made. Those who do the deciding must weigh the competing proposals with an eye on the computers, an ear to immediate needs, and with their thoughts on the future.
In this field it is easy to let our thinking become imprisoned by slogans. As appealing as it sounds, the popular concept of "multiple use" can be an invitation to confusion or a mask for exploitation unless it is properly defined. Some lands can survive what one might call maximum use, but any land use must respect ecological principles or serious mistakes will be made. Words must describe facts: both a reservoir behind a large dam and a new national park in one sense wholly pre-empt land, but each serves purposes as plural as multiple-use forests or grazing lands. Overuse in the short run may ruin land for higher uses in the long run. Crucial shortages will occasionally dictate one-sided decisions, but if we put our land to its highest and best use, the requirements of future generations will always loom large in our deliberations.
A final challenge concerns the choices we make in organizing and creating the man-made part of our environment: the buildings, the homes, the highways, and all of these things. Once we accept the idea that open space, clean air, green acres and attractive surroundings are not amenities, but necessities of a society that aspires to greatness, we will bring the artists and artisans to the forefront of our social planning.
Too many conservationists are wont to wash their hands of the man-made world by indicting the agents of progress. The enormous projects which will shape a part of the world of tomorrow - the freeways, the urban renewal projects, the airports, the industrial parks, and the new subdivisions - need not be ugly or inhuman if enough people are ready to fight for harmony, order and beauty, ready to demand creative land-use planning by creative people. We can have more man-made masterpieces and more man-managed landscapes that please the eye if, as the great architect Walter Gropius said recently, we "can find the right balance and coordination between the artist, the scientist and the businessman." Science has given us a wide assortment of tools: we can build for beauty, or build expediently with no regard for elementary esthetics. Science has given us the orchestral instruments, if I may use the figure of speech - the instruments we need to play a heroic symphony of our own. We can waste this gift on discordant solos, or, if we are wise enough to let the architects and artistically gifted wield the baton, we can do a noble and enriching work in the re-creation of our land.
And what about population pressures - those pressures that compound all of our problems? Current government planners operate in a sort of bureaucratic trance, it seems to me from my seat in Washington, on the actuarial assumption that the population of the United States will double by the year 2000. A corollary assumption of these people is that the good, the true and the beautiful will somehow be enhanced if the nation is more populous, and I suspect that this is an assumption that operates in your state as well.
Needed: New Questions
We have growth room in this country, but it may be that the time has come for thoughtful men to ask questions about such assumptions.
What is the ideal "ecology of man" - the ideal relation of human population to environment? Is it not time to ask whether man is subject to the laws of nature that govern other species - the laws which hold that for every species in any environment there is an optimum population? What is the carrying capacity as far as the human species is concerned? What is the proper man-land ratio for a particular continent? How much living space do human beings need in order to function with maximum efficiency - and to enjoy maximum happiness?
If we are to discharge our high duty as custodians of the future must we not at least ask such questions? If the fulfillment of the individual is our ultimate goal, and the highest concepts of morality inform our thinking, surely we can explore this terrain without untoward controversy. If we are to reach, the golden avenue that Robert Frost called "a new Augustan age," assuredly individual excellence will be more important than the accomplishments of the mass, and quality will be more important than quantity.
Geography must of necessity be a global science, and our outlook must be increasingly global if the optimum use of resources is to be achieved. Nature is still the master architect, and all parts of the natural world, from minerals and marine life to the gulf streams of the oceans and the jet streams of the upper atmosphere, obey a single set of laws.
It would be foolhardy in the 1960's for us to forget that the people of the United States, who constitute a mere 6 per cent of the world's population, use nearly 40 per cent of the raw materials produced in the free world. From the viewpoint of, resources and economics our fate is increasingly linked with that of other peoples, and the events of each year operate to increase interdependence. We can welcome the fact that the second phase of our misnamed "foreign aid" program largely involves the export of conservation know-how, and let us try, our best to understand what this is all about. We must be generous enough and practical enough to share our resource insights with the farmer of Pakistan, the Peruvian fisherman, and the manager of wildlife in east Africa - gladly accepting the land lessons they can teach us, and the fact that they have something to teach us. The region or the river valley was the proper setting for resource planning a generation ago, but the new technology now makes the world the appropriate arena for conservation planning.
In the long run resource interdependence will encourage world stability, and will play a large role in creating amicable forums where the conservationists of all countries may meet as they are meeting today. In the years ahead we can compete ruthlessly in a world context of scarcity, or we can cooperate for abundance. For example, the common management of the vast resources of the sea (a task that rational men must surely undertake soon) can do much to forge new links of unity; and the scientists themselves, with their commitment to conservation and their overriding emphasis on the hope of the human enterprise, may, if we can yank them out of their specialization, turn out to be bold pioneers of a peaceful world.
Only foolish men, and feckless societies, need contend with want in the future. The nations that practice conservation, and stabilize population growth in time, will surely prosper. It is also certain that the most influential countries in the decades ahead will be those that bring water to and lands, and electricity and resource wisdom to emerging societies.
In the years ahead our decisions on resource policy must always reflect, I hope, our highest aspirations. If we plan the use of our land and the development of our resources so that material progress and the creation of a life-giving environment will go hand-in-hand, we will not only ensure our own prosperity but will, as well, leave a rich legacy for those who follow.
Introducing: Stewart L. Udall
Success in the conservation of resources requires statesmanship in the development and administration of policies for resource use. The conservation movement in the United States is thus in appreciable degree an outgrowth of political leadership which has been aware of the significance of resources and which has secured public acceptance of the long view as to their use. As current trustee of a large share of our federally-owned natural resources, Stewart Lee Udall holds an office which is strategic for the future of conservation. Thus both his past experience and his present responsibilities as Secretary of the Interior qualify him to discuss the significant trends of conservation policy.
Secretary Udall was born on January 31, 1920, in St. Johns, Arizona, a town founded by his grandfather. Following combat service in the 15th Air Force during World War II, he resumed his education at the University of Arizona and received his law degree in 1948. He then entered law practice in Tucson and became active in local and civic affairs in his native state.
In 1954, Secretary Udall was elected to the 84th Congress as Representative for the Second Arizona Congressional District, an area rich in natural resources and containing a large area of public lands. He was successively re-elected to the 85th, the 86th, and the 87th congresses. As a congressman, he served on the Education and Labor Committee and the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee. In addition to his work in the resource conservation field on the Interior Committee, Secretary Udall took an active interest in education, minimum wage, and labor legislation, and in District of Columbia home rule.
On January 21, 1961, Mr. Udall took office as Secretary of the
Interior and thus assumed major responsibilities in diverse areas
of federal resources policy. In his present office he is intimately
concerned with problems of managing major portions of the federal
estate such as the national parks and the public domain; with problems
of water and mineral development and distribution; and with the
development of new programs to deal with such emerging problems
as those of outdoor recreation and open space. In addition to being
an active participant in current debates on conservation issues
he is, as a result of both personal experience and study, a thoroughly
informed and thoughtful student of those issues and of the historical
perspective in which they should be viewed.