The U.S. Census Bureau stated that there were no more frontiers, in the 1890’s. People had felt that the land would go on forever. In their quest for land, they cut down trees without planting more to replace those they cut down, and they hunted and killed the buffalos almost to the point of extinction. The passenger pigeon has become extinct. This attitude is still in evidence today as people use energy that many feel cannot be replaced. We need to stop destroying and start reusing wherever possible.
In the 1890’s, people would move into a new land, cut down the trees to use for building homes, fuel to heat their homes, or to cook their food. They would kill animals that came onto the land that they had planted, to keep the animals from destroying their crops. The people who lived on the frontier would kill a buffalo, but leave the skin, the bones and the meat. This killing would cause the buffalos to almost disappear from the frontier and the native peoples who depended upon it from having skins for homes, meat to eat and bones for tools.
As the land became scarce, more people were willing to fight to get land. They were willing to destroy more trees and more animals to create a homestead. John Muir, who was a preservationist, wanted people to stop chopping down the trees and destroying the land and killing the animals. He wanted land put aside for people to see, to experience it as God had intended it to be enjoyed. President Lincoln signed a bill to protect Yosemite Valley in California. In 1870’s, President Grant signed a bill to save Yellowstone in Montana and Wyoming for the people. In 1889, President Harrison signed a bill to protect undeveloped lands that needed protection. In 1916, President Wilson created the National Park Service to protect all these lands from greedy individuals who wanted to take more land to get more money.
Joy Hakim said that there are three kinds of people, Conservationists who want to use the land wisely and responsibly. Replacing trees as they cut trees down, protecting animals so that there will be more for when the future generations come along. Preservationists, who want to keep people from doing anything to the land. Not cutting down the trees, not allowing hunting of certain animals. They want things to be left just as they are. Others, who just want to take the land and use it to make more money for themselves.
Today, we still have groups who have differing views of the land and how it should be used. We have people who don’t want the land used at all. Leave it just as it is, for the future generations. They don’t want people to hunt deer or elk or moose, for fear that they could be hunted to extinction, again. There are people who say, that if you are replacing as you go, you can cut down trees and use it for the things you need, a home or a fire. They feel that you can hunt, if you have a license and only take what you need, not hunt just for the pleasure of saying you are hunting. There are others who feel that this is their land and that they should be able to drill for oil on their land, or they should be able to cut all the trees down, without replanting or anything else. There are so many ways that we can help preserve and conserve. We can use bottles for water over and over again, without throwing out the plastic bottles. We can use solar energy and wind energy to heat our homes. We can recycle things that we use so that we don’t need to use more resources. It just takes us working together to make things better for future people.
Hakim, Joy, A History of US, copyright 2011, K12, Inc.