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The supreme reality of our time is the vulnerability of this planet.
President John F. Kennedy

The "Century of Conservation" was launched like a rocket by the fiery personality of Teddy Roosevelt in the first decade of the 20th century. After this brief period of enlightenment TR's progressivism ground to a near halt. For nearly four decades environmental issues were overshadowed by two world wars and the Great Depression. Conservation legislation barely trickled through a Congress overwhelmed by international crises.

When World War 2 was finally over, however, an emerging optimism could not be contained. The United States had won the"greatest of all wars" with new technologies and would now convert these to peacetime applications, including space exploration, computers, and wonder drugs. This fueled a swagger just waiting to happen after years of war and depression. Babies were booming and so was the national economy. The good times were finally rolling.

But new problems challenged the exuberant nation. The air in our northeastern cities had become thick and hazy, irritating to eyes and lungs. Streetlights in the larger cities stayed on during the day. Snowfall changed from white to various shades of gray. Public lands across the country were threatened by greedy developers and parks were overrun by hordes of littering tourists. Rivers and beaches were fouled with oil, chemicals, sewage, and medical waste, the scraps of man's daily activities. A river in downtown Cleveland burst into flames from a massive oil slick. Birds dropped dead out of the sky. Bald eagle numbers decreased to 300 nesting pairs, our national bird facing the real possibility of extinction. It was clear we were seriously contaminating our environment.


Colorado is one of my favorite places on the planet. I visit at least once a year if not more. It has something for nearly everyone who likes the outdoors. The Maroon Bells pictured above are two of the 55 "fourteeners," or mountains that are higher than 14,000 feet, in the state. They are tough to climb but easy to photograph. (next photo)


© Danny Kimberlin 2015