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Nothing trendy about conservation

June 24 2011 | Coastal development, Kids, Joy, Culture Shifting,

The older we get the more clearly we see how few things are truly new or innovative.

Eventually we understand that virtually everything we experience is a derivative of something that came before it.

This obvious truth hit me the other day when I was in a used book store and picked up the great little guide to the left.

Being honest it had me with the cover alone.

I dig these old period pieces with simple graphics and straightforward layout. I paid 25 cents for it.

I figured I'd share it with my kids this summer as we experience the east and west coasts. It's great for identifying shells, crabs and other animals, etc.

On one hand nothing has changed with our coasts.

It's not like we have "new" animals populating our coasts than we did in the 1950s. Ok, we have invasive species brought over on container ships, etc... my point is that there aren't new species. Whatever existed when this book was written is essentially the same as exists today. This book that is so old that my parents could have bought it before I was born yet it offers as much utility now as it did then.

On the other hand much has changed with our coasts since the 50s.

There is a massive amount of coastal development now that didn't exist then. I hear the stories all the time "in the old days the locals were smart enough not to build there because they knew the next hurricane would take out beach front houses." The picture regarding animals is also different. Today we have less fish due to over fishing. There are newer animals, many times invasive species, brought in from elsewhere on the globe.

What really hit me about this book was the last point in the introduction. Amidst telling people to "wear rubber boots in winter months to keep warm" is a very simple, straightforward message of conservation. This message, the message of protecting what we love... protecting our coasts... isn't a new message.

Environmentalism didn't start in the 70's with Silent Spring, the first Earth Day, etc. The truth is that a lot of people have an environmental ethic forever. We tend to point back to milestones in our lives and think things started... then. If you're over 40 you may point to the 1970s and if you're over 10 you may point to 2010s.

The truth is that there is nothing trendy about conservation. It's a simple concept which is timeless. Protect the things you love. 

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