Perspectives on Conservation: Essays on America's Natural Resources

Perspectives on Conservation: Essays on America's Natural Resources

Perspectives on Conservation: Essays on America's Natural Resources

Perspectives on Conservation: Essays on America's Natural Resources

Excerpt

The use and enjoyment of natural resources is everybody's concern. Enough food, clothing, materials to make things with, energy for homes, factories, and transportation, pure water, fresh air, elbow room in natural surroundings for sport or contemplation, and other resource products sustain life and make it worth living. Everyone wants enough of these good things for his own family and those who will come after. Also, at least in a democracy, the ultimate decisions on how to use resources are everybody's responsibility.

In exercising their responsibility, however, the people more often than not have to rely on specialists of various kinds. There are complex technologies of forestry, mining, oil and gas extraction, water development, and other fields that largely determine how much of a resource product is available and how it can be used. There are complicated economic factors that influence production and consumption and help determine who pays the costs and who reaps the benefits. There are other important, sometimes highly technical, considerations including those of political and social organization and population growth.

Specialist and layman are mutually dependent in the modern world and have a lot to learn from each other, particularly, it sometimes seems, in the field of resource conservation and development. In no field, certainly, is there greater need of bringing the two together.

The aim of this book, as of the Resources for the Future Forum on which it is based, is to bring expert opinion to bear upon a few resource problems of wide interest and significance. The informed section of the general public to which the essays are addressed is itself a large and diverse group, for in this age of specialization the authority in one field is the layman in another. Specifically, the book seeks to . . .

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