Teddy Roosevelt once said, "It is not what we have that will make us a great nation; it is the way in which we use it."

Roosevelt was an avid sportsman, outdoorsman, and hunter. He was an explorer and roughrider. While he really loved shooting things, he also saw the very real potential humans had to exhaust nature's resources.

When he became president in 1901, he wanted to use his power to protect the wild places he loved. And oh boy, he did. He quickly established his legacy as one of our nation's great conservationists, and while in office, he used his powers to create or add to six national parks and 18 national monuments.


Monuments like the Grand Canyon, which Roosevelt implored people not to mar with development.

Photo by Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images.

Before Roosevelt, the Grand Canyon was open territory. It was Roosevelt's designation as a game preserve that started its protection.

"I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon. Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it," Roosevelt said.

We can understand that sentiment. I mean, would Mesa Verde National Park really be improved by a parking lot?

Photo via the National Park Service.

I think most Oregonians would agree that Crater Lake National Park is pretty great as it is.

Photo via the National Park Service.

Roosevelt understood South Dakota's Wind Cave National Park doesn't need humans to make it great. It was always great.

Photo via the National Park Service.

The bison in North Dakota's Sullys Hill are doing fine, thank you very much.

Photo via the National Park Service.

The park is now part of Sullys Hill National Game Preserve.

You don't need a fast-food restaurant to enjoy Chickasaw National Recreation Area.

Photo via the National Park Service.

Roosevelt created Platt National Park, which later became part of Chickasaw.

Roosevelt also added a ton of land to the world-famous Yosemite National Park.

Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.

A camping trip with John Muir convinced Roosevelt to place the entire valley under federal protection. Of the park itself, Roosevelt said, "It was like lying in a great solemn cathedral, far vaster and more beautiful than any built by the hand of man."

We also have Roosevelt to thank for a cellphone-tower-less Devil's Tower National Monument in Wyoming.

Photo via the National Park Service.

And Arizona's amazing Petrified Forest, which currently has no football stadiums in it (and should probably stay that way).

Photo via the National Park Service.

The petrified forest started as a monument, but is now a national park of its own. In fact, during his tenure, Roosevelt was responsible for protecting approximately 230 million acres of America's wild places, more than any other president until Barack Obama.  

Preserving our national heritage isn't a partisan issue; it's something nearly all Americans agree on.

A 2012 poll found that 95% of Americans want the government to protect the parks for future generations. However, the current administration has made a few decisions — such as making it easier to sell off park lands or ignoring climate change, which may endanger many of the parks — that put them at odds with Roosevelt's legacy.

More than 100 years ago, Roosevelt recognized that we had an obligation to protect our wild spaces and preserve our nation and planet for future generations.

"We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune," said Roosevelt. His legacy is there, if the current government will only embrace it.

Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less

Former President George W. Bush and current president Donald Trump may both be Republicans but they have contrasting views when it comes to immigration.

Trump has been one of the most anti-immigrant presidents of recent memory. His Administration separated undocumented families at the border, placed bans on travelers from majority-Muslim countries, and he's proudly proclaimed, "Our country is full."

George W. Bush's legacy on immigration is a bit more nuanced. He ended catch-and-release and called for heightened security at the U.S.-Mexico border, but he also championed an immigration bill that created a guest worker program and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people.

Unfortunately, that bill did not pass.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less

I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

Keep Reading Show less

Roland Pollard and his 4-year-old daughter Jayden have been doing cheer and tumbling stunts together since Jayden could walk. When you see videos of their skills, the level of commitment is apparent—as is the supportive relationship this daddy has with his daughter.

Pollard, a former competitive cheerleader and cheer coach, told In The Know that he didn't expect Jayden to catch on to her flying skills at age 3, but she did. He said he never pressures her to perform stunts and that she enjoys it. And as a viral video of Jayden almost falling during a stunt shows, excelling at a skill requires good teaching—something Pollard appears to have mastered.

Keep Reading Show less