Tag Archives: conservation

The History of the CCC and a Possible Future

image

From 1933 to 1942 there existed, as part of Roosevelt’s New Deal, an organization known as the Civilian Conservation Corps.   During a time of economic crisis, with the Great Depression raging and employment rates soaring upwards of 25%, the CCC provided young men aged 17 to 28 with valuable life, job, and leadership experience.  In addition to room and board, they were paid $30/month (equivalent to about $500 in today’s money) of which $25 was sent home.

The work was hard and the conditions often harsh.  Still, the average recruit put on about 11 pounds of body weight during the first three months.  I’m guessing most of that was muscle, because in only nine years the 3.4 million young men who participated in the program built just about every state and national park in the United States — 800 of them!  They planted over 2 billion trees, stocked almost a billion fish, constructed 125,000 miles of roadway, cleared 13,000 miles of hiking trails, and strung 89,000 miles of telephone line.  During time off they enjoyed on site recreation centers and free classes.  40,000 illiterate youth learned to read during their time in the corps.*

This is America at her best.  Not just because it was a quality program — it really was — but because it was made up of quality young men.  Sadly, I don’t think this program would fly today.  Congress would call it socialism and wouldn’t fund it, young boys wouldn’t sign up, and the public would say it’s inhumane to put kids in tents and make ’em shower cold.

But what if?  What if we could get funding and we could get young people to sign up?  What if we put some young kids to work doing conservation oriented things?

Maybe we don’t need to build any more national parks, but we sure need to start earnestly fighting climate change.  Young people could build community gardens.  They could install insulation, solar water heaters and solar panels, and rain catchment systems in public buildings, businesses, and private homes.  They could go into cities ravaged by economic and environmental disaster, places like Detroit and New Orleans, and reclaim abandoned properties by cleaning, restoring, and getting them occupant-ready.

We could educate hundreds of thousands of young people about climate change and train them for jobs in what certainly will be — or sure should be — a growth industry in the coming years.

Just a thought, a pipe dream.  But there’s so much work to be done to fight climate change and so little time before we’re over-run by an enemy far more dangerous than ISIS or Al Qaeda.  And I can’t think of a corps more capable of meeting that enemy head-on.

—————————–

* Statistics courtesy of Idaho Public Television.

Theodore Roosevelt

Update 7/18/19:  My club still uses the flag but we’re now called Cabal Fang Temple, and we’re a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational charity.  Visit our website or purchase our 12-week personal growth program at Smashwords, Amazon, B&N, or wherever fine e-books are sold.

————————–

Original post:

The recent post about Mt. Rushmore got me to thinking about those famous heads.  And then on The Daily Show I saw an interview with Douglas Brinkley, the author of Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America.  Now  I’m so intrigued, I have to read Brinkley’s book.

Did you know:

  • That while campaiging in 1912 he was shot in the chest — and delivered a 90-minute speech before going to the hospital?
  • That he is one of the great pioneers of the conservation movement?
  • That as President he firmly believed in the separation of church and state and thought it unwise to have In God We Trust on currency, because he thought it sacrilegious to put the name of the Deity on something so common as money?
  • That he was a Freemason?
  • That he boxed several times a week, even as President, until a blow detached his left retina, leaving him blind in that eye?
  • That he practiced judo and was a third degree brown belt?
  • That he was an enthusiastic stickfighter,  an avid singlestick player (fencing with a wooden sword) ?
  • That he drank a gallon of coffee a day, and often stayed up all night reading several books a day in multiple languages?

Nobody’s perfect of course.  I’m not fond of his views regarding Native Americans and other indigenous peoples for example, but all in all, he was ahead of his time.  He was the kind of man I could have been friends with, and were he still alove he would fit right in at The Order of Seven Hills.