By Samuel P. Hays
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Extra info for A History of Environmental Politics Since 1945
The desire for “growth” absorbed the imagination and energies of local and regional leaders, who constantly emphasized the advantages of more population and more jobs. Open areas were continually turned into permanent development, giving rise to many proposals to restrain “growth” or to foster the preservation of still undeveloped land and natural areas. Public discourse displayed a mixture of these two contradictory impulses: public leaders fostered growth and residents participated in it. Now it also seemed that development was being organized and shaped by regional and national eﬀorts.
Among some this leads to a desire to protect their communities against developments thought to be harmful. Middle- and upper-middle-class communities often have the ability to ward oﬀ such intrusions simply because their level of income, education, and political influence cause them to be avoided by potential developers. But those communities with more limited resources are placed in the position of having to organize to protect themselves. Ecological and environmental instability was driven home to most people through direct experiences such as the loss of natural lands in an urbanizing world, the eﬀects of disturbances and pollution on natural processes, or the relentless intrusion of development in communities that sought a quieter and less frenetic daily life.
National and state forest lands became major destinations for outdoor activities, and the administering agencies began to develop additional outdoor recreational programs after World War II. In almost every case, a park’s origins can be traced to new ideas and values rooted in urbanized culture and shared by advo- cates who were seeking not to abandon cities but to reach out to nature for recreation and aesthetic appreciation. ” Their central point of departure has been the “wilderness movement,” which had a goal to establish areas in which human influence is relatively unnoticeable.
A History of Environmental Politics Since 1945 by Samuel P. Hays