Tue 9 Feb 2021 05.20 EST
A 1930s initiative that tackled environmental woes and unemployment could inspire the new administration’s plans to confront the climate crisi
Nearly a century ago, the US faced unemployment at 25% and environmental woes such as flooding along major rivers and extensive deforestation. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt decided to tackle these emergencies simultaneously by creating the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as part of his New Deal.
Through its nine-year existence, Roosevelt’s “Tree Army” put an impressive 3 million jobless Americans to work. All in all, CCC enrollees planted more than 3bn trees, paved 125,000 miles of roadways, erected 3,000 fire lookouts, and spent 6m workdays fighting forest fires. The artifacts from this ambitious effort – such as trails and structures dotting the Grand Canyon national park or the Pacific Crest Trail – are beloved today.