Teddy Roosevelt and Investing in Natural Capital


Teddy Roosevelt is famous for more than just being the namesake of the ubiquitous teddy bear. Teddy felt very strongly about protecting our natural resources and made it his legacy. His legacy protects future generations ensuring they an equal right to the rich bounty of our home planet as the contemporary generations.

This noble understanding led him to protect vast parts of our country under the United States Forest Service (USFS), which established 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, 4 national game preserves, 5 national parks, and 18 national monuments by enabling the 1906 American Antiquities Act. During his presidency, ol’ Teddy protected roughly 230 million acres of public land.

However, while I think that Teddy was right future generations should equally share in nature’s bounty, I think it’s more important they share. I believe the future actually has MORE of a right to the natural bounty of our world.

Why?

Simple: They can use it better than us.

Thanks to exponential developments in all sectors of technology, the same piece of natural capital being expended today could yield 1000x the results just a few years from now.

Let’s take an example from today to put this into perspective. In 1999, a craggy expanse in Nevada received billions of kilojoules annually of solar radiation. Now just a few decades later, that same expanse still receives roughly the same amount of solar power. The difference being that now a field of solar panels silently, patiently convert that solar power to useful electricity.

We must intelligently invest our resources for long term compounding returns. Like investor-extraordinaire Warren Buffet says, your dollar is worth far more than 100cents over its lifetime when you invest properly. This same mentality applies to resource conservation. We must invest in technology that helps not only preserve our natural resources but creates more resources, not less. We have more to invest in our future.


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