CHAPTER 1

Are America's ResourcesSustainable?

Roger A. Sedjo

THE QUESTION OF HOW society should deal with its natural environment is not new. Biblical directives call for man to “subdue” the earth. Resource management questions go back to the practices of early herders and agriculturists. Primitive attempts at water management systems are often credited with having contributed to the development of social institutions and bureaucracies. An important part of America's resource history is found in the intellectual disputes between Gifford Pinchot and John Muir more than a hundred years ago. Pinchot espoused the “wise use” doctrine of conservation, arguing that resources should be used wisely for the betterment of humankind. Elements of this message ...

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