« AnteriorContinuar »
Duressary as city fire departments, more consideration for life and property by the fool that is careless with match and spark, realization by more lumbermen that it pays in more ways than one to do their part, State officials who will handle State lands intelligently, tax laws that will permit good private management, consumers who will take closelyutilized products, and a few other things that demand specific study and specific action. Very few will follow automatically after any amount of agitation under the general term of forest Conservation. Do you suppose this would have sent the boy down the hill after water? No more will it write a good forest code and drive it through the devious channels of legislation. No more will it organize a hundred busy lumbermen and install a trained co-operative patrol. No more will it supply the necessary systematic campaigning to teach the people of your State and mine in just what ways their homes and pocket books are touched by every injury to forests or forest industry and exactly what they, as individuals, must do to prevent such injury.
Without decrying their sentimental aspects, these are business problems. They call for all the exact facts, all the systematic planning, all the decisive action, all the appeal to human motives, selfish and otherwise, that are essential to any business. We have a commodity to offer. By whatever name we call it, fire prevention, reforestation, or more vague yet, forest Conservation, we are really offering prosperity insurance. It must be paid for by the community in currency of individual and collective effort, by individual care with the forest and by publie policies enforced at public expense. To make the community pay for this commodity requires the same methods that make it buy life insurance; the same devising of a sound, attractive policy that the buyer can see and understand, the same skilful advertising, the same personal persuasion by its agents. I believe that if this were a congress of life insurance agents they would be talking mostly of just these things, particularly of improved methods to close with procrastinating “prospects,' with a view to putting these methods into the most definite kind of practice the day after they got home. We do not need argument on the merit of Conservation any more than they would on the merit of life insurance.
We are converted, or we would not be here. But we need a whole lot of instruction in salesmanship, and I believe we fail to make this the feature of these congresses that it might be.
Let us look ahead, we agents of prosperity insurance, to see what is to be done after we get home.
The Government needs little but our moral support. The Federal Forest Service is our highest authority in technique, the national forests are our most conspicuous examples of practice. But the task of the Forest Service is stupendous, not only in protecting these vast forest areas and the lives within them, but also in replanting denuded areas
and managing great timber sales, so new growth will follow. Congress does not appropriate anything like enough for this work. The forest rangers out West are working for you and me, not for Congress. We want more of them, and better facilities for their work, and it is up to us to say so at the right time, to the right men, and so emphatically that there will be no misunderstanding Petty politics and “retrenchment” would not be practiced so much more vigorously when dealing with the lives and resources of the people than when dealing with the “pork barrel” if we Conservationists were half as free with telegrams as we are with resolutions. Yes, this means you. So long as you stand for having the appropriations for preserving the Nation's forests from three to twenty times less per acre than the lumberman is spending on his contiguous holdings, or for any congressional attack upon the integrity of the national forest system, your Conservation preachments are going to the wrong address or are not properly spelled in words that look like votes.
There is even greater need of definitions that apply to the situation of our States. Many have done nothing. Others have ill-balanced laws passed by some one agency without due consideration of the needs of others or of the greater need of bringing all into harmonious co-operation. In few is there a far-seeing comprehensive policy financed and executed. Here, of all places, forest Conservation must narrow itself to specific issues. Scattered ideas do not pass good laws or prevent the passage of bad ones.
Propaganda work must be as forcible and carefully directed as blows with an ax, to cut out one by one the local foundation of
every obstacle. In presenting our remedy we must prove our knowledge of the principles and technical framework which will insure freedom from politics, just distribution of cost, effective organization, strict and enforceable fire laws, systems of patrol and fire-fighting, facilities for educating lumber men and public, management of State-owned lands, fair taxation, and, above all, co-operation with and stimulation of endeavor by private owners. Without such knowledge, and skilful publicity and campaigning, your very success in general agitation may result in legislation worse than none.
All this involves considerable knowledge of the problems of the private owner. After all, he controls most of our forest area. His use of it, our use of it, and the effect of our relations on our joint use of it, largely determine our forest destinies. And there is entirely too much forgetting that forests are useless unless used; that not forests, but forest industry, is what we really seek to perpetuate. Except from their protection of streamflow and game, the community has little to gain from-forest preservation unless it also preserves, on a profitable and permanent footing, the industry that makes forests usable and worth preserving, that employs labor, affords market for crops and services, pays taxes, and manufac
turers and distribute an indispensable commodity. Forest wealth is community wealth, but not without forest industry to coin it.
The lumberman as a class, because he is honest and useful as a class, should be accorded the same encouragement as a captain of desirable industry that is accorded the leader in agriculture or irrigation who develops possibilities of utilizing our resources and supplying our needs. And as a class, because whatever may be true of the past he now sees his livelihood dependent upon forest preservation, he is a stauncher supporter of forest reform than any other class. He will utilize the present crop closely, and grow a new one, whenever these are business possibilities. The most efficient and liberally supported fire organizations in America are the lumbermen's co-operative patrols inaugurated in the Pacific Northwest and now spreading eastward. Most of our best State forest legislation has been promoted by lumbermen. Where this is not true, we can make it true quickest, as Judge Lindsay has found with his boys, not by censure and compulsion that make them sullen or antagonistic, but by learning their troubles and working with them hand in hand toward the ends which in the very nature of things must in the long run be of mutual advantage. “And this means that we must talk a common language; that here, too, forest Conservation must be expressed in practical terms of fire prevention, just taxation, and business encouragement.
What I have said of propaganda for State and private action applies to our appeal to the ordinary citizen, with this difference that because his number is greater, and his interests are more varied, we must add to the list of our specific personal arguments and to the list of our publicity mediums for carrying these arguments. Every vocation, every trait of character, every selfish and unselfish motive, has its best avenue of approach.
Immediate tangible results come most surely from immediate injury. Even good laws are of small use unless the public of today is sufficiently warned to insist on their enforcement. Do not think me lacking in ideals when I say that our greatest need is vigor and skill in appealing to human selfishness. The altruist comes to us unsought. But to reach the hand with the torch, the vote withheld, the word unspoken; we must find the man, make him listen, and show the cost of forest destruction to his particular home and pocketbook. We will not have forest Conservation till we have done this, and we will not do it until we master and apply the technical knowledge of mediums and psychological appeal that go into any successful advertising campaign.
The definitions of Conservation I have outlined are those used by the Western Forestry and Conservation Association. Its field is the five Pacific forest States—the Nation's woodlot-containing over half the country's standing timber and capable, hy reason of rapid growth, of