What’s the difference?
I ask because I came across this quote from Teddy Roosevelt when I visited Roosevelt Island this weekend:
“Conservation Means Development as Much as it Does Protection.”
Coming from the man who established the National Park System, I raised an eyebrow when I read this. These terms — conservation, preservation, protection, etc. — are pretty slippery. When you’re talking about actual environmental policy, these words have no concrete definition. Which, come to think of it, is probably why politicians like them. Politicians are just nuts about abstract language.
But Teddy’s use of the term “development” is what really surprised me. Today, that word definitely has some nasty connotations. But what did the term “development” conjure in the average citizen’s mind back in 1900, I wonder? What did Roosevelt mean by “development” when he dreamed up this quote? Clearing trails? Managing forests for timber? Building dams?
What do you think? What role do you think “development” plays in conservation? Specific examples appreciated.
Coming up next: Part 2 of my excursion to Roosevelt Island, in which I complain at length about the heavy use of English Boxwoods to represent an American Conservationist president, and point out the irony of how Roosevelt Island’s woodlands are overrun with invasive vines.