In this book Stewart Udall, Secretary of the Interior from 1961-1969, details the history of great Americans who advocated for conservation and preservation of the USA’s great outdoors.
A passionate and idealistic politician, Udall entered office with an immense knowledge of the environmental challenges facing the United States. The massive economic growth of the postwar boom, the construction of immense infrastructures such as the interstate highway system, and the emergence of urban sprawl as a problem confronting several states – though these brought prosperity, they also carried great perils of irreversible environmental destruction.
This work establishes that concerns about human proliferation on America’s lands are not new: they can be traced back to the dawn of the American nation. The tribespeople of the Native Americans were the first to show respect for nature, with authors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau advocating for greater care to be taken; by the 20th century, Theodore Roosevelt and others had made natural preservation a matter of national policy.
For Udall, the ‘quiet crisis’ is the gradual emergence of environmental problems resulting from human civilization: left unchecked and poorly managed, the end results are certain to be dire.