The Spirit of Lindbergh --
Charles A. Lindbergh, 1902-1974


Charles Augustus Lindbergh is best known for his historic non-stop trans-Atlantic flight from New York to Paris in 1927.

What many people don't know is that he chose to make his last flight from a New York hospital to Hana, Maui, to spend his last days with his family in his favorite place.

At Home on Maui

A friend of Lindbergh's had introduced him to the island of Maui. Lindbergh thought it was one of the most beautiful places he had ever seen. "There is nothing quite comparable when you think of waterfalls, natural swimming pools, and the ocean beyond," he said. This friend later offered to sell him several acres of forest, cliffs and seashore, all quite remote and inaccessible -- and Lindbergh accepted at once. Charles and his wife Anne Morrow built a simple home -- a place where they could get back to the fundamentals of living and the closeness to nature and wildness. In the beginning they spent about six to eight weeks a year in their Maui home. As time went on they visited more often and for longer periods of time. According to Leonard Mosely it was both a haven and nest, and they had never felt safer or closer to each other than when they were there together.

(Excerpts and paraphrase from Leonard Mosely's "Lindbergh: A Biography", Doubleday 1976.)

Lindbergh's Resting Place

In 1974 Lindbergh flew from a New York hospital to Hana, Maui, to spend his last days in solitude with his family. Wracked with incurable cancer, Lindbergh had planned all the details of his simple funeral. A rough-hewn eucalyptus coffin, resting in the back of a local pickup truck, was his hearse. There is no sign to his resting place. It is in a small church graveyard in Kipahulu. Those who wish to pay him their respects usually find him. A small donation to help maintain the church and grounds is always appreciated."

(From Angela Kay Kepler's book "Maui's Hana Highway: A Visitors Guide," Mutual Publishing 1987.)

The Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation

In May of 1927 Charles Lindbergh made the first solo, non-stop trans-Atlantic flight in his airplace the "Spirit of St. Louis." It was a truly historic achievement. When people of think of Lindbergh, they typically visualize a courageous young man flying alone from New York to Paris (and some, unfortunately, leave Lindbergh right there, in Paris).

The Charles A. Lindbergh Fund was founded in 1977 to honor not only Lindbergh the flyer, but the substantial contributions he made in the half-century after the flight in the fields ranging from aeronautic research and natural resource conservation to biomedical research, exploration, and wildlife preservation.

Lindbergh himself said: The accumulation of knowledge, the discoveries of science, the products of technology, our ideas, our art, our social structures, all the achievement of mankind have value only to the extent that they preserve and improve the quality of life."

More information on The Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation

The 1996 Lindbergh Grant Application

(Excerpts from the 1993 Charles A. Lindbergh Fund Grant Application.)

Lindbergh's Challenge to Modern Science

Robyn Myers, 1994

For centuries, cultures worldwide have been trying to balance their needs for survival with the need to sustain the system that supports them. Over time new technologies made it easier to obtain food, transport water and build secure shelters for basic survival. Throughout history new inventions and innovations have made life easier and healthier, and humans have flourished in number. But as both humans and their technologies evolved, these same technologies have in time, in many places, begun to threaten the very systems on which life itself depends.

It is commonly recognized that the need for security and protection has driven the development of technology. Lindbergh (1976) himself noted that man's intellectual development has been driven by the need for military weapons and intelligence. These new technologies incorporate into our civilizations, leading to continued growth, progress and development. Evidence is the increased efficiency and standardization of modern life. But it has also led humans to make unsupportable demands on the Earth's resources, evidenced by pollution, overpopulation and loss of natural resources.

Today, fear of nuclear war has been equalled by the fear that modern life may damaging Earth's life support systems beyond repair. Ironically, most of the technologies used in ecology today were originally invented for military use. Lindbergh noted (1976) that during his lifetime of flying he observed many changes on the Earth's surface. Aircraft and aerial photography developed for the military are now standard tools used for studying the Earth.

It is clear we must balance our use of technology to secure the long term survival of the Earth's systems, and the life it supports. Lindbergh (1976) called this a "conflict of values" between our natural instincts and our intellect. He noted (1976) "We must bring our intellects into balance with other elements of life or we shall perish as a species. We must overcome the hypnosis caused by our miraculous intellectual creations, and return to the essential life-stream values that evolved us through the epochs -- merge the knowledge of our mind with the wisdom of wildness that produced us. This is our modern challenge. All others fade before it." Through our progress and development, humans have lost contact with nature, and therefore the wisdom that lies within it.

The challenge to today's scientists is to apply ecosystem science and technology to conservation issues. The conservation of biological diversity has become an important topic in both research and resource management (Sobrig 1991, Soule and Kohm 1989, Schonewald-Cox et al. 1992 , Beuchner et al. 1992). There is concern for the rapid rate of change humans are making to Earth's systems, leading to the loss of species, communities or entire ecosystems. While change is natural part of the Earth's dynamic systems, some human-caused changes equal or exceed natural changes (Vitousek 1992). The loss of species have been known to change functional and structural attributes of systems leading to changes in ecosystem processes and services (Vitousek 1993, Ehrlich and Mooney 1983). The complex inter-relationships among living things and their environment are what most ecologists, by definition, strive to understand. While human development and advancement of technology can be part of the problem, it can also be part of the answer.

References:

Buechner, M., C. Schonewald-Cox, R. Sauvajot and B.A. Wilcox. 1992. Cross-Boundary Issues for National Parks: What Works "on the Ground." Environmental Management Vol. 16 No. 6.

Erlich P.R. and H.A. Mooney. 1983. Extinction, substitution and ecosystem services. Bioscience 33:248-253.

Lindbergh, C.A. 1976. Autobiography of Values. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. New York.

Schonewald-Cox, C.M. 1988. Boundaries in the protection of nature reserves. Bioscience 38:480-486.

Sobrig, O.T., Ed. 1991. From Genes to Ecosystems: A Research Agenda for Biodiversity. Report of a IUBS-SCOPE-UNESCO workshop. Cambridge, Mass.:IUBS.

Soule, M.E., and K.A. Kohm. 1989. Research Priorities for Conservation Biology. Island Press, California.

Vitousek, P.M. 1992. Global Environmental Change: An Introduction. In Fautin, D.G., D.J. Futuyma, and F.C. James, Eds. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics. Vol. 23.

Vitousek, P.M. 1993. Effects of alien Plants on Native Ecosystems. In Stone, C.P., C.W. Smith, and J.T. Tunison. 1993. Alien Plant Invasions in Native Ecosystems of Hawai'i: Management and Research. Cooperative National Park Resources Studies Unit, University of Hawai'i. University of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu, Hawaii.