Imágenes de páginas

possibility of usefulness is being successfully applied to the conditions of the people in all the material needs and all phases of moral and spiritual development. So the meaning of conservation has grown until it has become the paramount factor in every organized effort which is working out for humanity a higher and more perfect life. This broad principle of conservation, as applied to the ethical side of life, as well as the material side, has a value to us which is beyond question and beyond estimate.

The multiplicity of duties which constitute the life of woman taught her, ages ago, that the idea of conservation was the surest weapon with which she might win success. It has remained, however, for these latter years to give her as a name for this ancient method the euphonious word “conservation” with which to dignify the task of making yesterday's roast into today's hash—of remodeling a last season's dress for this year's wear—of regulating the work, study, and play of the child for its best development—of so arbitrating in the control of the home that there be no waste of body, mind, or soul. This we now know is “the conservation of resources for the greatest good of the greatest number.” Centuries of use of this idea by women has given her a keen sense of its power and its adaptability to any problem which presents itself. Because conservation in its material and ethical sense is the basic principle in the life of women, is the reason it has been the dominating characteristic in all lines of the work women have undertaken since they became organized into the great peaceful army known as the General Federation of Women's Clubs. Conserve every helpful element in every field of activity, has been the marching order.

The General Federation of Women's Clubs carries forward its projects by dividing the work among standing committees.

The Foresty Committee has long been organized with cooperating committees in the State federations. The interest in this department has been widespread and through the efforts of the clubs a knowledge and love of trees, birds, and the life of forests has been fostered in the home, the school and the community. This interest has helped create the strong public sentiment which has begun to influence National and State legislation for the protection of forests, bird life and waterways. This last subject is a special department of the committee work which has met with most gratifying response in the enthusiasm aroused. Many State reservations have been directly traceable to the influence which club women have exerted to preserve some favored spot of nature. Recognition of the value of women's influence in this direction was evidenced in the invitation which President Roosevelt extended to Mrs. Decker, President of the General Federation (1906-1908), to be present at the convention of Governors which considered the preservation of national resources. The educational lectures of Mr. Enos A. Mills throughout the country were arranged by the forestry committee and the result was an immediate and far-reaching response to his appeal for the spirit of the forest life. A detailed account of things really accomplished in this field is not here possible, but no greater thing stands to the credit of the forestry committee than that of keeping the eight hundred thousand women of the Federation in touch and in sympathy with the policies outlined by President Roosevelt and carried forward by Mr. Pinchot, whose great work the Federation heartily endorses. The Pure Food Committee has directed its efforts to assisting the securing of laws which establish a high standard of food purity. At the same time educating the home makers and food buyers so that they might secure the greatest benefits under the pure food laws. This conserves the lifesustaining quality in foods, and the agitation of market sanitation is along the same line. Clean food, carrying no disease germs, is the greatest factor in conserving human life and preventing waste of the body, with its attendant train of misfortune. The subject of food conservation is homely and intimate, but this, rather than detracting, has been a feature which has enhanced the intense interest all over the country. Because of its universal appeal, splendid “team work” by the cooperating committees has been shown, resulting in special Federal, State and municipal legislation for the conservation of food by demanding a high standard of excellence of the products. The sanitary care of these products to preserve their purity and prevent waste is engaging the attention of the public. This is largely a result of the agitation of the question by women's clubs. The food supply and its preservation is as much a national resource as are forests and waterways, and to no resource can the conservation theory be applied with greater beneficial results to our national life. The Civics Committee has made a special appeal for the establishment of public playgrounds, that the health and spirit of childhood might be conserved. Giving to a child a means of expressing its joyousness will fix as a part of our great national spirit an element of unquestioned worth. The establishment of juvenile courts in many localities has been this department's work, and in the conservation of the moral and intellectual life of chisaren this has been of inestimable value. If the moral sense with which God endows the little child might be conserved to its highest usefulness, rather than be allowed to atrophy by lack of development, under degenerating environment, many of the problems which follow as a natural consequence of such neglect would be obviated. This conservation of the moral asset has been already adopted as a basis of a great reform


movement. Then many departments of Civic improvements, public parks—municipal arts committees—libraries and galleries —detention homes—all are part of the women's work in conserving the child, that a better citizen may be the result. A sub-division of this committee has worked on the phase which considers public measures that concern the health of the community. State and municipal Health Departments have rejoiced at the cooperation of the club world in this field. It has given a value to their work in the public estimation which it had never had before. In the crusade against flies and mosquitoes, and in the distributing of information to prevent the spread of tuberculosis and other contagious diseases, this committee has accomplished wonders. The education of the public has, in many localities, brought about the establishment of public sanitoria. Throughout the country a greater intelligence has been aroused on these subjects which is the beginning of a great movement in conserving the health of the people. Under the Educational Committee the study of health and proper training has been inaugurated in the school and home. Trained nurses in the schools—special inspection of sight and hearing of pupils—better lighting and sanitation of school buildings—summer schools and recreation grounds—urging separate schools for the defective and delinquent, are a few of the things that have been accomplished by the woman's interest. This is saving the power of brain and body and preventing mental and moral deterioration, as well as teaching the child to value and conserve his own powers of body and mind. This applies the principle of conservation to the conditions which surround the child as related to the development of character. But it is just as beneficially applied to the courses of study by which the child's mental and moral cali

bre are determined. The ideal education conserves and develops every possibility of body, mind, and spirit. With this end in view, the Educational Committee has endeavored to secure not only proper courses of study in the schools, but every other influence to uplift and give outlook to the child. The Committee of Civil Service Reform has dealt with even larger and more public problems, such as the care which the State institutions give the blind, delinquent, insane, and poor. It has urged the establishment of the merit system in departments, that there might be conserved every possibility by efficiency in care and administration. The evolution of these departments of State affairs toward a higher standard by more scientific treatment has been largely the result of the influence of women's interest in their betterment. The conservation of governmental efficiency, which is the ultimate aim of this work, is too large a field to be more than suggested in a report of this character. A long list of reforms already accomplished, and large plans for the future, stand to the credit of this committee. In the Household Economics Committee attention has been turned to the scientific and efficient administration of the home. In this, her own particular domain, woman realized there were improvements to be made. In the conservation of the home we have urged better equipment in our kitchens, simpler and more artistic furnishings, manual training and domestic science in the schools, and beyond all, spreading the gospel of good home-making as woman's highest calling. This study, in its ramifications, has touched every article in the home and every phase of home life: the conservation of time by skillful management—the conservation of resources by proper selection of materials and food—the conservation of the intellect by proper selection

« AnteriorContinuar »