Happy 50th birthday, Wilderness Act

wilderness actThe Wilderness Act turned 50 last month. This article by Tom Dispatch in Nation of Change tells the story of this legislation—one of three monumental acts passed by Congress in 1964 (along with the Civil Rights Act and the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act). Research commissioned by Public Works found that stewardship of our future is a role people expect of their government, and this act was one of our greatest collective moves toward the stewardship of our natural resources. The author portrays the act as a movement toward justice, another universal and motivational American value.

Like the Civil Rights Act, the Wilderness Act legislated justice. I don’t mean to equate the two laws—no one went to jail or was attacked by police dogs or shot or killed to get the Wilderness Act passed, but it did embody a revolutionary act of justice, nevertheless. It legislated compassion toward the planet by insisting that we humans must stop and leave certain lands alone and not take anything more from them. That third great law of 1964 made a down payment on giving Earth its due. It was that kind of justice.

(Dispatch also believes the act was about love and sex, but you’ll have to click on the link above and read that part for yourself.) To celebrate the 50th birthday of the Wilderness Act, YES Magazine offered a tribute in the form of some breathtaking Instagram photos of some of America’s protected lands.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *