Environmental Conservation: Eight Principles of the American Conservation Ethic

The American Conservation Ethic is built around eight principles that are grounded in experience, science, wisdom, and the enduring values of a free people. The Ethic affirms that people are the most important, unique, and precious natural resource and maintains that Americans must be good stewards of the world around us—not only for the well-being of the current generation, but for the health of future generations as well. Central to the American Conservation Ethic is the fact that renewable natural resources, such as air, water, and soil, are not fragile and static but resilient and dynamic. These resources are continually regenerated through growth, reproduction, and other naturally occurring processes that cleanse, cycle, or create resources anew. Because these resources are continually renewed, they can be used in a wise and responsible manner without fear that they will be lost forever. The key to effective environmental stewardship is to better understand these renewable natural resources and the relationships among them.

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