Quotations

Theodore Roosevelt on Conservation

“Here is your country. Do not let anyone take it or its glory away from you…. The World and the Future and your very children shall judge you according to the way you deal with this Sacred Trust.”
President Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

“Optimism is a good characteristic, but if carried to an excess, it becomes foolishness. We are prone to speak of the resources of this country as inexhaustible; this is not so.”
Seventh Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1907

“We of an older generation can get along with what we have, though with growing hardship; but in your full manhood and womanhood you will want what nature once so bountifully supplied and man so thoughtlessly destroyed; and because of that want you will reproach us, not for what we have used, but for what we have wasted…So any nation which in its youth lives only for the day, reaps without sowing, and consumes without husbanding, must expect the penalty of the prodigal whose labor could with difficulty find him the bare means of life.”
“Arbor Day – A Message to the School-Children of the United States” April 15, 1907

“There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country.”
Confession of Faith Speech, Progressive National Convention, Chicago, IL, August 6, 1912

“Defenders of the short-sighted men who in their greed and selfishness will, if permitted, rob our country of half its charm by their reckless extermination of all useful and beautiful wild things sometimes seek to champion them by saying the ‘the game belongs to the people.’ So it does; and not merely to the people now alive, but to the unborn people. The ‘greatest good for the greatest number’ applies to the number within the womb of time, compared to which those now alive form but an insignificant fraction. Our duty to the whole, including the unborn generations, bids us restrain an unprincipled present-day minority from wasting the heritage of these unborn generations. The movement for the conservation of wild life and the larger movement for the conservation of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in spirit, purpose, and method.”
A Book-Lover’s Holidays in the Open, 1916

“The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem. Unless we solve that problem it will avail us little to solve all others.”
Address to the Deep Waterway Convention, Memphis, TN, October 4, 1907