We believe all Americans appreciate beauty, regardless of their political views, origin, economic status or creed, and that working to restore beautiful landscapes and create beautiful places is a non-partisan cause that can bring us together and build community in polarizing times.
In a rapidly-growing and more stressful America, we also need more space for healthy recreation and leisure.
We worry that in the quest for wealth and growth we may overlook the human need for beauty. We seek to preserve the beauty that still exists and restore that which has been lost. We believe America’s beauty must be won and protected by every generation.
We commit ourselves to passing on a more beautiful America to our children and theirs and we seek a renewed stirring of love for our land.
It’s not a new idea. Our campaign is modeled on a campaign that brought us together during the presidency of Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s (see Beauty’s History). Fifty years ago, Americans were engaged in a comprehensive program of national beautification that united much of Congress across partisan lines. Without it, the air in Los Angeles might be deadly today, the Cuyahoga River still flammable, our highways buried in litter and billboards, and large swaths of our landscape beyond repair.
We changed things then. We can do it again.
We call for input and feedback from all who share our basic goals.
We believe that all Americans are inspired by the majesty of our national parks and the beauty of well-tended countryside, wild places, clear lakes and streams, graceful buildings and inviting public spaces. We are uninspired and unhappy among denuded landscapes, polluted waters, scarred mountainsides, littered streets, strip malls and commercial clutter, derelict buildings and cold uniform living spaces like the bland gray apartments of the Soviet era or the failed grim housing projects in our own cities.
We honor those who have democratized our grandest natural wonders and passed on to us a legacy of beautiful landscapes and green spaces to work and play in as well as those who build farms and grow food in formerly urban wastelands. We recognize the inequalities still inherent in our access to beauty and seek to extend opportunities to experience beauty to all who share this country.
Save the world
“If anything can save the world, I’d put my money on beauty,” Doug Tompkins, founder of the global clothing giant Esprit, once declared. The beauty he meant was not the garments he sold, but the natural beauty of the earth, and the beauty of well-designed human environments. In a time of partisan anger and division, we believe that beauty can heal our wounds.