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Hine, Ruth L. (ed.) / Wisconsin Academy review
Volume 15, Number 3 (Fall 1968)

Kabat, C.
Natural resources at the crossroads: people,   pp. 7-11


Page 7


i NATURAL RESOURCES AT THE CROSSROADS: PEOPLE
H. Armstrong Roberts
THREE BILLION now and 3
billion more by 2004-this is the
world population picture . . . 200
million now and 362 million for
the United States by 2000 ... 4
million now and up to 6 million
for Wisconsin by 2000.
  This is the population explosion
-an expression repeated as many
times as there are people. Just
about every concern of human
beings today is attributed to the
population explosion, and in some
ways rightfully so. On the other
hand we can't use this as our
only excuse for our \inabilities to
cope with not only today's but
also some of yesterday's people
problems.
  Philosophically, yesterday ' s
crossroads are relatively the same
as today's and in all likelihood
will be the same tomorrow. And
though history repeats itself, the
material things that confront each
succeeding generation change in
size, shape and form according to
the laws of thermodynamics. All
matter is energy and all energy
is constantly changing. Ideally
each generation should solve its
own problems. Unfortunately this
is not the case. Each generation
finds itself trying to learn why
yesterday's problems weren't
solved while simultaneously trying
to meet its own crises. One reason
for this may be that we haven't
been able to effectively use yes-
terday's knowledge to solve to-
day's problems because apparent-
ly we see and interpret conditions
differently than did our ancestors.
The psychologists refer to this pro-
cess of seeing and interpreting as
symbolizing.
  Everything and every condition
relating to it that exists on the
earth is interpreted, explained and
described as man sees it. Thus all
adversities and amenities past and
present are people problems.
  The crossroads for the natural
resources that the previous speak-
ers discussed were all people con-
frontations, either dilemmas or
blessings. The difficulties that are
being encountered with these nat-
ural resources and solutions to
them are interpreted through hu-
man eyes and h u m a n minds.
Water, soil, air and the non-human
living organisms do not speak for
themselves, we do.
  Talk presented for the symposium "Natural Resources at the Crossroads"
at the Annual Meeting
of the Soil Conservation Society of America, Wisconsin Chapter, January 26,
1968, Madison.
7
By C. Kabat


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