||Press for billboard and sign control ordinances
to bring order from chaos.
||Stage anti-litter drives.
||Find out if your community is taking advantage
of all possible federal and state programs. (Larger cities have federal-aid
specialists; smaller cities and counties can receive help through the League
of Arizona Cities and Towns).
||Put on contests and make awards to progressive
||If your group is really interested in improving
the environment, it ought to take a stand for necessary expenditures, including
bond issues. Demand that your air monitoring and enforcement agencies,
the water treatment plant, the sanitation department, etc., be adequately
staffed, trained and paid.
||As part of the group's education process, talk
to developers, utilities, private and university scientists, architects,
planners, physicians, recreation specialists, lawyers, and other experts
in fields in which you'll necessarily need knowledge.
WHEN THE CHIPS
If you are really determined to force reform in
the way man treats his environment, you have to be prepared for some unpleasant
confrontations. They can't always be avoided. No matter what facts you
and your groups present, no matter how strong your logic, you will not
always be able to win over the opposition. For selfish economic reasons
your opposition may elect to fight you -- to foot-drag, threaten or end-run.
Be sure you are right and present your case to
the media, civic groups, churches and politicians. You may even end up
in court as a plaintiff or even a defendant.
Above all, set yourself for a long struggle. Our
oceans, lakes, streams, air, soils and quiet were not spoiled overnight.
But, as I pointed out in my recent newsletter on conservation, man is now
an endangered species. He changes or he dies.
A PERSONAL NOTE
I'll be 48 in June. My generation has not been
too wise in the stewardship entrusted to us. Some of the things we've done
are irreversible. Others are not. Those which we can correct, we ought
"Never before," said President Kennedy, "has man
had such capacity to control his own environment. . ." He warned: "We have
the power to make this the best
|generation of mankind in the history
of the world -- or to make it the last."
Though Earth Week was primarily instituted by
the younger generation, the battle to save our environment belongs to all
of us. There are a few people around who think the cause is hopeless, but
I believe we have the political system and the economic system to turn
pollution around -- if we will just use the brains and dedication available
"Law and order" has come to have different meanings
for different groups. Some "hard liners" in dealing with disorderly students,
for example, have become "soft liners" in dealing with polluters. And vice
versa. (Ironically, I thought, the young people who came to Washington
to protest the invasion of Cambodia left tons of litter in the President's
Park, demonstrating a certain inconsistency between their ideals and their
practice of them.)
If you live in a small town, it's easy to criticize
how "they" do things in the big cities. If you live in the West, it is
easy to damn the East. It is a lot harder, though, to deal with the fellow
next door, your local employer or your local public officials.
And the toughest test to your resolve comes when
your own ox is being gored, your own habit patterns threatened, your recreation
criticized, your long-held beliefs and assumptions questioned.
Again I use a quote of Ed Crafts, former director
of the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation in the Department of Interior:
|"The long-term issue is environmental management.
But the price runs against our grain. It includes a social ethic for the
environment, control of the world's population, willingness to forswear
profits, sacrifice certain creature comforts, revise social priorities,
and raise sufficient public opinion against principal industrial offenders
to compel change."
We are learning fast what we can do. We
don't know yet if we will
do what we can. I have hope, though, encouraged
by a Tucson second grade girl who wrote me:
|"Please help American stay clean. I pick up
trash too. every time when I have a candy and I have the candy wrapper
I throw it in the garbeg can. and when my brother throws down his candy
wrapper I pick it up and throw it in the garbeg can."
Let's you and I do likewise.