Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/340

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before reaching apparently sound uninjured forest. Such has been the widespread damage by one industrial plant in the ten years of its existence. The national forests at the headwaters of the Missouri and the Columbia are dying, and the Attorney General, in compelling their protection by reform in the extraction of copper, has done his duty well.

Another case in point is afforded by a recent decision in southern California. In the heart of the orange-producing region of the San Bernardino valley, the manufacture of cement, begun on a small scale, has developed to considerable proportions. Going eastward on the Southern Pacific Railroad from Los Angeles, one passes through almost continuous groves of orange trees, their dark green leaves glistening in the brilliant sunshine which has given that land its name. Suddenly one notices that the foliage is no longer green, but gray, not glossy but dull, and that on the opposite side of the train is a cement works constantly wasting part of its laboriously manufactured product. This dust settles on leaves and soil, enters houses, and becomes a nuisance everywhere. It sets wherever there is moisture, in dew or fog or rain, and does not wash off like ordinary dust. By reason of this opaque coating over the leaves, the manufacture of food in these green organs is interfered with, and the insufficiently nourished trees yield a correspondingly diminished crop. So serious has this injury to the orange industry become, that the court has decided that the manufacture of cement in one plant must be stopped entirely, and in another may be carried on only on a small scale, until such changes have been made that manufacture can be resumed without disadvantage to the orange-growers. That such changes will be made in this plant I have no doubt.

Such cases as this, revealing the conflict of civilization and vegetation, decided with wisdom as well as justice, leading to improved methods of manufacture, go far toward establishing that new balance which must be attained in America, as it was reached long ago in more populous Europe, that balance between civilization and vegetation which will ensure the stability and the prosperity of both.