Champions of Conservation


Earth day came and went quietly again this year — April 22nd. But… always behind the scenes are those working to help the cause of our ailing Earth home. Just who were the geeks that saw the need and took up the cause? Let’s take a look at a few of these very focused individuals that shared their love of nature, a simple way of life and a willingness to stand up for what they believed was morally right.


Ansel Adams — known world wide for his stunning black and white photos of the stark and wild High Sierras. His turn of the century (1902) work set the standard for all B&W photography. He endured a great deal of criticism for having the gall to compile and oeuvre of brooking landscapes free of reference to people. His work would eventually help us realize the need to keep wild places free and wild.


Rachel Carson — a reserved and quiet women, who studied zoology at the University of Maryland. Later she would become the center of a firestorm when she published her life’s work ”Silent Spring” that would prompt the FDA to ban DDT and control the use of other contaminants dangerous to man and wildlife. Called a cultist and a spinster by the food and chemical companies that blanketed her book as a hoax. Audubon Magazine writes of Rachel “As having had the skill to penetrate to the roots of biological reality and make her findings known.”


Bruce Babbitt — Secretary of the Interior during the Clinton administration was a strong leader in the fight to restore and preserve our national parks in the west. He was instrumental in the reintroduction of a wolf population in Yellow Stone National Park and brokered a historic agreement to protect the Florida Everglades. He is a modern day environmentalist that understands the need for progress and the preservation of the wilderness. He quietly continues his environmental work behind the scenes.


Jimmy Carter — known as a peace make and an environmentalist. “No president since Teddy Roosevelt has done more for the protection of public land,” says Audubon. He convinced Congress to pass the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 that protects 104 million acres of Alaska being the single largest conservation initiative in US history. He also signed laws that prevent strip mining of public lands.


Theodore Roosevelt — known as the man to get things done, he didn’t just talk about conservation, he threw the full weight of the office of the president behind creating national parks and wildlife refuge sites. By the time he left office he had created fifty-one biologically significant sites and expanded the national forest from 42 million acres to 172 million.


Gaylord Nelson — Senator from Wisconsin whose eighteen years in the senate were crucial to nearly every major piece of national environmental legislation from l963 to l980. He is responsible for the creation on Earth Day.


R Buckminster Fuller — architect. His signature invention, the geodesic dome gave us insight into how man and nature should come together synergistically and simply. Fuller established the “Inventory of World Resources, Human Trends and Needs,” a compendium of decades of research on population, renewable resources, poverty and other environmental factors.


Environmentalist, ecologist, human being, man, woman — the pieces are interchangeable. An environmentalist: An individual who is living their life and making their own special contribution and only wanting to leave the world a better place for having been in it.


Till next time, Rebecca