The Great Expansion Of The 20th Century Essay

1666 WordsNov 29, 20167 Pages
By the turn of the 20th century, both agricultural interests and large urban cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles needed more water for its rapid growth. In all this great expansion of aqueducts and dams, concerned citizens like John Muir proclaimed that more must be done to protect the majesty and beauty of California before it is all gone. Inspired by the writing of Henry David Thoreau, which published Walden, a landmark book on the topic of environmentalism, and his years exploring and camping in the Sierra Nevada wilderness, Muir began to gather like-minded scientists and thinkers in San Francisco. Efforts by Muir and the formation of his Sierra Club in the 1890s eventually met with success in convincing the federal government to protect the Yosemite Valley from logging and grazing interests, preserving the area into a newly formed forest reserve concept of a national park (Fox, p. 106). Muir had less success in preserving the sister valley of Hetch Hetchy, which eventually was dammed and flooded to use as a reservoir for the inhabitants of San Francisco. Up till the 1950s, environmental activism was fractured among diverse groups with diverse causes: water quality, overpopulation, air quality, clean beaches, toxic wastes, pesticides, endangered wildlife. Yet, in 1950, the Sierra Club, led by native Californian David Bower, eventually secured its national reputation in the battle against another massive dam proposal, this time the Echo Park Dam project in Utah.
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