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Posts Tagged ‘Theodore Roosevelt’

Theodore Roosevelt Memorial waterInventories can be managed but people must be led.” – Henry Ross Perot

In a recent sermon, my minster discussed colloquial use of the word “used”. He illustrated an example of its value two thousand years ago. In those days, it was common to use things and love people. Well, have we turned that meaning around and love things and use people? What has happened with our values in today’s new modern world?  Has humanity simply ignored stewardship principles for profit or is it a case where our high tech society is no longer linked to agrarian mores and values? So, in terms of Sustainability, has mankind placed to much emphasis on things without regarding the consequences to resources and ultimately our whole planet?

As Americans, we have that heritage reflected in what Theodore Roosevelt said over a century ago; “To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.”

Perhaps it was better said almost 500 years ago, regarding changing the status quo:

“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”  ~ Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince (1532)

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President of the United States Theodore Roosev...

President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front. Deutsch: Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), Präsident der Vereinigten Staaten von 1901 bis 1909, Friedensnobelpreisträger des Jahres 1906. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over one hundred years ago, our then president, Theodore Roosevelt, was particular interested in our natural resources, the people and cultures of our country and the need to remind everyone that we should improve those resources for future generations. Please keep in mind that the term Sustainability had not been coined, but the desire to to the “right thing” was so clearly embedded in Roosevelt’s thoughts and deeds.

“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt

“To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt

“We should not forget that it will be just as important to our descendants to be prosperous in their time as it is to us to be prosperous in our time.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt

I wonder what Roosevelt would have said in today’s context. Would he have been an environmental activist, a commander of industrial leaders, a rebel who would have had indigestion with international organizations and NGOs? We shall never know, but one thing we do know now is his love for this country, its people and the resources that stretch from one ocean to the next.

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Theodore Roosevelt (1904) English: President o...

For over a century, the United States has been the leader in conserving our planet and its resources. It has recognized our precious resources from its beginning. Our nation’s forethought is founded on the fundamental values of preserving our resources. We have that heritage reflected in what Theodore Roosevelt said over a century ago; “To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.” In 1969, the United States created the concept of Sustainability. The U.S. enacted National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) whose purpose was to “foster and promote the general welfare, to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony and fulfill the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.”

In 1987, the Brundtland Commission acknowledged what the U.S. established almost two decades earlier, and modified the precepts around Sustainability Development: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Many today, believe that is the origin of Sustainability, when in reality our American vision and understanding of resources, their value, and future needs originally established those best practices.

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