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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of January 8, 1999

This week, facts about... Teddy Roosevelt, who loved the land but not the people who lived in it.

Transcript

CURWOOD: Theodore Roosevelt died on January 6, 80 years ago. First Governor of New York and then Vice President of the United States, he became President in 1901. A Republican and an opponent of big business, Teddy Roosevelt was also a rancher, a big game hunter, And a conservationist. He added 150 million acres to our national forests and hired lumber tycoon Gifford Pinchot to run the Forest Service and convince lumber companies to adopt selective cutting practices. Although Teddy Roosevelt loved the wilderness, he did not hold the same affection for its native peoples. Instead, he despised them as savages. In his book Winning the West, Roosevelt writes, "The rude fierce settler who drives the savage from the land lays all civilized mankind under a debt to him. It is of incalculable importance that America, Australia, And Siberia should pass out of the hands of their red, black, And yellow aboriginal owners and become the heritage of the dominant world races." So, while Teddy Roosevelt created 5 new national parks and the National Wildlife Refuge system, he also helped instill in the conservation movement an ideology of white preference that it has yet to fully shed. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.

 

 

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