by Laurie Bereau
Upon gaining its independence in the late 18th century, the US strived to establish its distinctive features. Lacking in monuments and historic landmarks, the nation soon realized it could celebrate an invaluable asset: its wilderness. From the geysers of Yellowstone to the canyons of Utah and Nevada, the United States teemed with spectacular scenery preserved from man’s touch and whose magnificence could easily compete with European landmarks. The National Park idea was born to preserve the wilderness and ensure that future generations could experience and enjoy it. Still, vast reservoirs of natural resources were thus placed out of reach in the process, potentially hindering human progress. In 1923, the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park was flooded after the construction of a dam meant to secure adequate water supply for the city of San Francisco. More recently, Britain has approved fracking under national parks.
Should the preservation of nature take precedence over human development? Should we be uncompromising in the protection of nature?
In this activity you will examine several texts and videos, then write a composition of your own using the sources provided below.
While you're watching the videos below, think about the following questions:
With a partner or in a group divided into 2, conduct a debate adopting the two positions outlined below. Once you have chosen your positions take some time to prepare your debate based on the materials presented above.
The state of California is holding a public meeting over the possible introduction of fracking under Yosemite National Park :
You think that if conducted with great care, fracking will not damage national parks. In your opinion, the benefits of fracking outweigh the few nuisances that might ensue.
You believe that in order to preserve the common good, some tracts of land are to be preserved from any human commercial activity.