Tom Bell quotes

  • Tom Bell

    Mike McClure photo
  "While I am a believer in the multiple-use principle, the concept of conservation, and an ecological approach to resource use, I find myself reacting to those who disregard any or all of these. And so I strike back. To the public, it would appear I am completely and diametrically opposed to all progress, to all resource use, and to the efforts of the great industries to supply us with the goods we need.


"That, of course, is not true. I am not alone in believing you can dig iron or coal or uranium from the ground and when you are finished you can use part of your profits to restore the surface. You can timber if you are willing to recognize other values, leave some trees standing, and use the most refined methods to remove timber without destroying a forest. You can produce power or reduce ores without destroying the surrounding environment. You can produce food without resorting completely to poisonous, persistent chemicals.


"Any industry that does not recognize this now will have to do so sooner or later. For what conservationists have said from the beginning of conservation is that this world, and all its treasures, is finite. Treat it right and you will live. Squander and plunder and rape and you will someday suffer."


           -- Tom Bell, HCN March 13, 1970


"The environmentalists say we have a tremendous task to do. We must completely reorient the thinking of a capitalist nation; industry and the individual stockholders must expect a lower profit margin; the consumer must expect to pay higher prices; all must pay higher taxes; all must go back to a simpler, less affluent standard of living. How many people will be willing to do this short of imminent destruction is debatable. In the meantime, the ecological time bomb ticks mercilessly on ...


"As I write, three frail human beings ride a damaged spacecraft on an odyssey of peril. Our prayers are with them for we sense their danger. But well might our prayers be also for the passengers who ride the damaged spacecraft Earth. Their danger hangs over them hour by hour. Ours is less imminent but just as real."


          -- Tom Bell, HCN April 17, 1970 (Earth Day issue)


"People are looking to the West and our great, wide-open spaces. It is here that vast areas of public land offer the hope for diverse, meaningful escape from the maddening crowd. They will come as surely as the lemmings go to the sea.


"It is sheer madness to let the situation engulf us. We must plan quickly and diligently. Without planning, we face another type of environmental degradation and destruction. It could be as disastrous as that which has befallen the inner city."


           -- Tom Bell, HCN Sept. 11, 1970


"I don't know how I would have fared in this world had I not had the great outdoors in which to roam, seek solace, heal sensitive feelings and begin to grope my way toward adulthood. I grieve that all young people cannot experience the lessons the Good Lord can teach under His blue canopy, beside some soothing brook.


"My lot has been cast with the simple wonders of the world. You cannot buy the light flashing from a rainbow's side in limpid waters. There is no price on the hoot of an owl from dusky woods at eventide. You can only experience a coyote by hearing his howl.


"My own son can experience these things. But how about my grandsons? Will the world become so crowded that they, or their grandsons, be deprived of fulfilling experiences? How can our affluent, burgeoning society continue on its way without destroying values which cannot be bought in the marketplace?


"I suppose it's these apprehensions which motivate my waking moments. I would have it no other way. But I wish I could assure myself, and them."


           -- Tom Bell, HCN Aug. 28, 1970
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