Hon. Gifford Pinchot, chief of the Bureau of Forestry of the Department of Agriculture, delivered an interesting lecture in the Living Room of the Union last night on "Government Service as a Career." He emphasized the imperative need of university men in the service of the government for the work of conserving our natural resources.
Opportunities for public work at Washington are greater now than they have been for a long time, but university men have not yet grasped them.
In dealing with government service the conservation movement claims first attention. This movement has been well defined by ex-President Roosevelt, who founded and set it on foot, as the application of common sense to common questions for the common good. It deals not only with the material substratum of the wealth of the country but with the equable distribution of this material. The question then is a moral as well as a material one.
The fundamental question with which the country has to deal is that of the food supply of the people; how an increase in the productivity of the individual acre can be brought about; how we can carry our own people on our own soil. This problem is the basis of all others. There is great opportunity here for young men, but it must be remembered that money rewards from this kind of government service are not large. A man must take his satisfaction in serving his whole country, in the permanency of his position, in congenial surroundings, and in the complete scientific equipment that he has at his disposal.
The food question is the most important, but then comes that of the use of waterways. There is less water transportation in this country than in any other, and there is a great development ahead in this line.
Let us now look at the Forest Service, which is handling a tract of country greater than all the Atlantic States put together. A long list of our greatest industries are dependent on the preservation of our forests. We use more wood than any other nation in the world. Many young men are needed to take hold of this question and a great opportunity is open to a man who wants his life to count for something. To enter forestry a man needs to be perfectly sound, capable of hard work, both with his hands and head, and needs a long training. A forestry life does not mean great wealth, but it does mean a fine, manly, and wholesome life and a great benefit to the country. Indeed, there is no other line of work in which the satisfaction of life is so great.