Today We Are Paying Increasing Attention to the Importance of Nature Conservation

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Today we are paying increasing attention to the importance of nature conservation. Thankfully, owing to the far-sighted pioneers (有遠見的先驅者) who headed the National Parks movement, there are now a number of reserves throughout the world where nature is allowed to reign supreme(最高), and wild life is preserved(被保留)to be enjoyed by all. But over large tracts of the world's surface the delicate balance(微妙的平衡) between man and nature is still being destroyed by industrialization, over-population and the resulting pollution.

Conservation efforts have existed for hundreds of years. Their aim was always to prevent or control the effects of man's heavy exploitation of a particular natural resource. This normally took the form of excessive hunting in an area, which moved some authorities to use their power to counteract(抵制)the extinction of animal populations. 

It was not until 1872 in the state of Wyoming, that the first National Park was created as "a public park and pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people". This was the famous Yellowstone National Park, whose breathtaking volcanic rocks(驚人的火山岩)and gorges(三峽) still afforded the same magnificent spectacle(壯觀) as in neolithic times(新石器時期), untouched by the hand of man. Its creators wanted to conserve the natural environment for the purposes of scientific research and for the enjoyment of visitors. But why was it in Amethica and not in Europe, then culturally more advanced, that the idea of National Parks was born?

In Europe, the industrial and agricultural revolutions had occurred gradually. Factories were localized around available energy resources, and agriculture had developed steadily in harmony with the countryside. In the United States, technological advance was uniquely different. It was in only a few decades that pioneers of exceptional determination and dynamism invaded immense open spaces whose aboriginal inhabitants had until then lived in harmony with the environment. The American settlers' penetration was technically more advanced assault than that which had been made on the European wilderness. The railroads opened up vast new areas for human habitation which quickly led to large scale deforestation, exploitation of resources and the springing up of factories and towns overnight.

For a time, this expansion was threatened by the desperate resistance of Indian tribes to the waves of colonizers, so the tragic plan arose to push them further west by starvation. The millions of bison (A humpbacked shaggy-haired wild ox native to North America and Europe) which roamed the plains and were their principal food source were systematically slaughtered. Scores of sharpshooters, led by men like the legendary Buffalo Bill, rode the roofs of railway carriages, massacring entire herds of bison on sight. Such extermination of wild life dramatically alerted American public opinion to the dangers inherent in the rapid and successful development of the continent. 

By the end of the nineteenth century, with the rapid migration to cities, vast spaces available in the rural areas were taken over by the State "for the benefit and enjoyment of the people". The great success of the National Park movement has, paradoxically, led to its greatest problem as the aims of the original founders are increasingly in conflict with each other. The great numbers of visitors threaten the very character of the Parks, and are often incompatible with the needs of scientific research. This problem is aggravated by greater affluence, increased interest in wild life stimulated by TV and "green" pressure groups, and the ever expanding opportunities of relatively cheap travel. Solutions must be found -- for example, by creating "green areas" where the strict principles of the movement are modified to allow for large scale tourism and the pressure is thereby taken off the true National Parks. With constant care and vigilance, the Parks will continue to play a leading role in the...
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