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The Frontier and Conserver Mentalities

     Some people see the earth as a place of unlimited resources, where ever-increasing production, consumption, and technology inevitably lead to a better life for everyone. If we pollute one area, we merely move to another or eliminate or control the pollution through technology. This kind of thinking called the frontier or throwaway mentality represents an attempt to dominate nature.

     Many environmentalists argue that over the coming 50 years and onwards we must change and throw away our present throwaway or frontier rules and; follow a new set of sustainable earth or conserver rules designed to maintain the earth’s vital life-support systems. This is not only for our own sustenance, well being, and security, but also it is an elementary step to fulfill our obligation to pass on this essential legacy of a harmonious and resource-full life along to future generations.

     A sustainable earth or a conserver mentality is contrary with the beliefs of the throwaway or frontier mentality. It sees the earth as a place of limited room and resources and that ever-increasing production and consumption can put severe stress on the natural processes that renew and maintain the air, water, and soil on which we depend. Sustaining the earth calls for cooperating with nature, rather than blindly attempting to dominate it.

     But the sustainable earth view is not enough. It is unrealistic to expect poor people living at the margin or edge of existence to think about the long-term survival of the planet while they themselves cannot find their means for survival and say, they are at the margin of existence. When people need to burn wood to keep from freezing, they will cut down trees. When their livestock face starvation, they will overgraze grasslands.

     We can read and talk about environmental problems. Furthermore, we can suggest solutions, but finally it comes down to what you and I am willing to do individually and collectively. We can begin at the individual level (our own, house, lot or backyard) and work outward by joining with others to amplify our actions (the community). This is the way the world is changed. Envision the world as made up of all kinds of cycles and flows in a beautiful and diverse web of interrelationships and a kaleidoscope of patterns and rhythms whose very complexity and multitude of potentials remind us that cooperation, honesty, humility, respect and love must be the guidelines for our behavior toward one another and the earth.

     We should stop thinking that we can do nothing to bring back and enhance our nature because it’s really up to us and we can do a lot of things if we cooperate with one another. This is what God meant when he tasked man to have “dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.                                   

     It is not too late. If enough of us, human beings, really care by heart, there is still enough time for us to correct our mistakes and deal with the complexity of the problems we have created. It’s not up to “them”. It’s up to all of “us”. Don’t wait.  It’s time to care, it’s time to move, right now.



The reason why we have water pollution is not basically the paper or pulp mills. It is, rather, the social side of humans—our unwillingness to support reform government, to place into office the best qualified candidates, to keep in office the best talent, and to see to it that legislation both evolves from and inspires wise social planning with a human orientation.

~Stewart L. Udall