Monday, December 27, 2010

Early Texas Environmentalists

Book chronicles struggles of early Texas environmentalists

'They did it at risk of becoming unpopular in their communities,' author says.

Dec. 26, 2010 - When a famed, elderly Dallas conservationist and mentor suffered a brain embolism 15 years ago, Austinite David Todd thought he ought to document the environmental stories of that generation before they disappeared.

"It was kind of a wake-up call that there's this generation of people that grew up in the post-war era and helped us to create many of the parks we enjoy, passed a lot of laws that fund environmental protection and regulate environmental activities."

His interview with the Dallas man, Ned Fritz, led to a waterfall of voices, selections of which are offered up in the recently published book "The Texas Legacy Project: Stories of Courage and Conservation", co-edited by Todd.

The book is an oral history of the important environmental struggles in Texas during a complicated 20th century. In the backdrop, Texas moves from a rural state to an urban one, the civil rights movement stirs, and industrialization booms.

"The stories they could tell were a highly perishable project," he said . "We wanted to store them away as a kind of seed bank of information.

"They're really altruistic people, with no hope of getting famous or getting money, and they did it at risk of becoming unpopular in their communities." {continued}

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