CONSUMPTION AND CONSERVATION OF RESOURCES
Preamble: Historically, the aenvironmental movement has emphasized three tracks: 1) conservation;
2) changing consumptive habits; and 3) regulating, eliminating, and reducing the production of harmful substances.
Preservation and Conservation of Land: In the 19th and 20th centuries the efforts of John Muir and
Teddy Roosevelt laid the foundation for conservationists. An outgrowth of their efforts was the creation of national parks and an appreciation of the intrinsic value of our natural resources.
Consumption and Conservation of Resources: The second track relates to the adjusting of consumer habits. Efforts to “reduce, reuse and recycle” and the use of Compact Florescent Bulbs illustrate this trend.
Precautionary Principle & Costs: The third track attempts to alter the production of substances or
stop activities that are harmful to people and the environment. If “an activity raises threats of harm to
human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and
effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.” This track strives to learn if we have “hidden” costs, placed on the public and government for resource development and production. “Hidden”
costs can include tax subsidies, environmental destruction and adverse health problems experienced by residents and workers.
Paul Russell Cutright, Theodore Roosevelt: The Making of a Conservationist, Chicago: University of Illinois Press,
1985 and John Muir, The Story of My Boyhood and Youth, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1916
Wingspread Statement on the Precautionary Principle, Jan. 1998, http://www.sehn.org/wing.html
Jenrose Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Jason Bailey and Melissa Fry Konty, Ph.D., The Economics of Coal in Kentucky: Current
Impacts and Future Prospects, Berea, Ky.: Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, June 25,