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Natural Resources
How Rich Will We Be When We Have Converted All Our Forest, All Our Soil, All Our Water Resources and Minerals to Cash?
1938, “Ding” Darling

I had the good fortune to have my neurons grow a bit last week when I visited the “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, Florida.

Like a lot of us I fall too often into the error of thinking that life began with me, that war loathing, habitat protecting, and protesting the powerful are things I, and those close to me, have a claim to unknown in the history of mankind. Fortunately, we are easily disabused of such singular ideas. We read John Muir, we admire Virginia Woolf’s anti-war writing. we draw lessons from the anti-slavery organizers. Still, to find that a man, a cartoonist, with a name like “Ding” was talking in the 1930s about habitat destruction and the consequences for the world, in language that hasn’t changed much to this day, was an eye-opener. And that he kept churning out his editorial cartoons — some 15,000 of them– and converted his opinion to persuasion and action reminds me of the power of not giving up. The work he and other unknown people did in those years putting trees, water, animals, human behavior into the national dialog has provided the foundation we work from today.

More of Ding’s cartoons here.