Items by Peter Wild

Dry defines the desert
The residents of Phoenix, Albuquerque and Tucson are no more southwesterners than the American employees of oil companies, living in Saudi Arabia in sealed compounds complete with Wataburger stands, are Saudi Arabians.
Greeley said, 'Go West,' but fought the 19th century 'Great Barbeque' of public land
Horace Greeley, best know for saying 'Go West, young man," also said "Nature offers us good bargains, but she does not trust and will not be cheated."
The prodigal son became a conservation father
John James Audubon, an amateur painter and inept storekeeper in various towns along the American frontier, made remarkable contributions to art and science that became a force for conservation.
Catlin took his palette West to paint Indians
By steamboat, canoe, horse and sometimes staggering fever-ridden on his own two legs, George Catlin covered thousands of miles along the Missouri River and Rocky Mountains.
Influential 'techno-twit' mines U.S. energy inefficiencies
Amory Lovins says the industrialized world suffers not from energy want but from energy waste, and foresees a future where energy bills go down, benefiting both utilities and consumers.
How Grinnell and the buffalo rescued Yellowstone
George Bird Grinnell, commissioned to explore the newly formed Yellowstone National Park and report on its wonders, found in the buffalo a concrete symbol to generate deep public sentiment.
Fending off nature's bill collector with planning
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt understood stewardship -- understood the significance of an America overgrazed, overfarmed and carelessly logged.
Lone Ranger Nader: Just what does he want?
A look at Ralph Nader's background lends support to a view of him as a product of America's traditional idealism -- an idealism that has generated conflicts throughout the country's history because it is frequently at odds with political and economic realities.
Barry Commoner boils ecology down to basics: 'There's no free lunch.'
Barry Commoner, the 'Paul Revere of Ecology,' is now stepping into the political arena to shape the Citizens Party, a group that he says will address such issues as jobs, inflation, alternative energy and citizen control of natural resources in the 1980 election.
The gentle, genial man behind the Wilderness Act
Howard Zahniser, although lesser known than Bob Marshall or John Muir, was an unlikely and humble champion of wilderness who rallied the nation behind the Wilderness Act of 1964.
Roosevelt led charge for conservation
Rarely in the history of the country has there been a relationship as close and as symbiotic -- and as effective for conservation -- as existed between President Teddy Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot, the first chief of the newly formed U.S. Forest Service.
MacKaye's reinvasion of nature galvanized conservation forces
Benton MacKaye's vision of regional planning and advocacy for the Appalachian Trail set in motion forces of conservation that would later affect the public lands of the West.
Frederick Law Olmsted, 'playground pioneer'
Frederick Law Olmsted offered the nation a vision of what it might be -- a land of humane cities surrounded by the sweeps of national parks and forests.
Bob Marshall, last of the radical bureaucrats
Uniquely talented and well connected -- and known to hike 70 miles in a day -- Bob Marshall became the pivot on which the country turned toward a firm wilderness commitment.
After Silent Spring, the issue became life itself
A reflection on the life of Rachel Carson and the impact of her groundbreaking book, Silent Spring, on the nation's emergent environmental consciousness.
John o' Birds tempered industrialists
John Burroughs, a student of Walt Whitman and a companion to industrialist Henry Ford, may have had a spotty record of activism, but his part in protecting the nature he loved was far greater than he himself imagined.
Stout-hearted Hornaday waged a war for wildlife
The forerunner of the militant environmentalism of the 1960s and 1970s was William T. Hornaday, a man who had been dead and largely ignored for 30 years -- a man not wholly admired for making fellow conservation leaders blush by his overzealous and often unjust attacks.
Schurz preached conservation to a profligate nation
During his tenure as Secretary of the Interior Department, at a time when settlers simply took what they wanted from public lands, Carl Schurz pushed to put into practice the conservation ethic developed by George Perkins Marsh and others.
An observer who inspired reformers
George Perkins Marsh's seminal book Man and Nature would be his lasting contribution, but it was only a sideline to his lifelong curiosity over man's role in nature's changes.
Defenders of nature in the nation's highest court
William O. Douglas has articulated one of the most progressive environmental concepts of recent times: that the natural world should have legal rights.
Outrageous hero of dignified crusade
Within the literature of conservation, which in the past has been full of praises to nature's beauty, Edward Abbey's full-blown rage is what distinguishes him from others.
Stewart Udall made conservation national policy
Generations to come will look upon the work of Steward Udall -- Secretary of the Interior Department under both Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson -- as exceptional, a lesson of political survival combined with effective conservation.
Hardin attacks freedom, philanthropy
Garrett Hardin's confrontations with some of the most basic tenets of Western civilization have piqued racial minorities, sociologists, churchmen, political liberals and conservatives alike.
John Muir: a cultural hero lost in his mythology
John Muir, the legendary preservationist who wandered the Sierra Nevada, tends to be viewed as a hero dressed in simple guise; a closer look shows him as a complex man, like the rest of us capable of gloom and hesitation.
The father of Rocky Mountain Park
Enos Abijah Mills, after years living primitively in the shadow of Colorado's Long's Peak, had a chance encounter with John Muir that apparently inspired him to work for the preservation of Colorado's high Rockies.
Mary Hunter Austin defended the deserts with gusto
If anything characterizes Mary Hunter Austin, it is not the disparateness of social reprobation, ill health, or the constant searches of her life, but integration, the harmony of earth and man.
Pinchot ruled the Forest Service back when conservation was king
In the second of a two-part series, author Peter Wild recounts how Gifford Pinchot tramped through the West and schemed with President Teddy Roosevelt, and ultimately became chief of 16 million acres of forest reserves.
Stubborn tree farmer rescues forest
Gifford Pinchot is best remembered as the first head of the U.S. Forest Service, but he was also a man who for 20 years pined for his dead girlfriend, who astounded his own Republican party by appointing women and blacks to office, and who thought John Muir demented. The first in a two-part series about Gifford Pinchot.
Joseph Wood Krutch, a voice for the deserts
Joseph Wood Krutch probably did more than any other writer to change society's opinion toward what it had long looked on as undifferentiated wasteland -- the deserts of the American Southwest.
Aldo Leopold saw a 'fierce green fire' die
Aldo Leopold might have spent his life happily stuck in a romantic age -- chewing tobacco with other Forest Service employees, camping in the ponderosa forests and killing the hated wolf -- but he possessed two traits that raised him above the average: capacity for perception and the ability to change.
High Country News Classifieds
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