On the centennial of Theodore Roosevelt's birth, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED published an assessment by Alden Stevens of T.R.'s pioneer work in protecting our wildlife, wilderness and natural resources (Oct. 27, '58). Stevens noted the paradox by which Roosevelt, abandoning a childhood choice to be a naturalist, as a politician made far greater contributions to conservation than he could have done otherwise. Later achievements in conservation are a monument to him. But the father of American conservation, were he alive today, would be the first to observe that achievements are far short of requirements and that requirements are far different from what they were early in this century.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's interest in conservation is both inherent and lifelong, for reasons defined in our editorial on page 39. The interest in conservation of Henry J. Romney, Assistant to the Managing Editor, is also lifelong, and during the past six months he has climaxed it with an intense study of conservation's current status. His travels have taken him from coast to coast and to many way stops in between, for conservation is as vast as geography itself. In this issue, in the first of two parts, he presents his findings—an analysis of the newest and greatest requirements that challenge conservationists.
Romney's article is remarkable because it introduces a brand-new concept of conservation. Traditionally an exercise in saving the landscape and its life from the depredations of man, conservation now becomes a means of saving man from himself. It bears more upon the problem of human existence than animal existence. In the face of expanding urban population, it deals with contracting natural wealth. The new concept, Romney suggests, should be called social conservation.
As the theory of conservation undergoes reorientation, so must the practice. In Part Two next week Romney will report on some of the most practical and promising conservation news in several years, as it is now breaking in one of our great states and at the federal level in Washington.
Romney's article may well mark a milestone in conservation reporting. As such, it will be the latest part of the continuing story of conservation which SPORTS ILLUSTRATED will continue to tell.
HENRY J. ROMNEY