The Progressive Erañs Conservation Movement and Congressman Morrie K. Udall

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The 1970’s represent a pivotal point in history that rewrote how America viewed its environmental policies- both on a policymaker and citizen scientist standpoint. As the public became more aware of environmental issues, concern about pollution, improper disposal, dwindling resources, radiation and poisoning enraptured a growing number of supporters. These supporters made it so that unlike the Progressive Era’s conservation movement (1890’s-1920’s), which was mainly elitists, this modern movement was pushed by “the common man.” It was an era that celebrated leaders such as John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Thomas Jefferson. One of those leaders in the forefront of these radical changes was Congressman Morris K.…show more content…
Conservation of our biodiversity not only demonstrates foresight, it protects the natural resources so vital to our own continued existence. The value of any single species to an ecosystem is immeasurable; the environment will not endure without its species, despite size or niche. These animals are not dispensable. And, they are apt to face extinction in the not too distant future, unless a resolve for their preservation is insisted by the public and enforced by governments internationally. It is our actions that have directly, and indirectly, caused such environmental destruction; now it is us that must help save them. As John Sawhill said, "In the end, our society will be defined not by what we create, but what we refuse to destroy." We are their only hope; future generations of animals and mankind alike are depending on us. “I come before you tonight both as a lover and a critic of the conservation movement, as one who is at once proud of our past accomplishments and disappointed by them, troubled about the future of the movement and hopeful for it. …The more we exploit nature, the more our options are reduced, until we have only one: to fight for survival,” Congressman Udall started out his acceptance speech. This powerful statement captures the theme of my education and research foundation- i.e. a more organized and open environmental

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