In China, years are named after animals — the year of the rabbit, the year of the tiger… . We prefer to call our years after good causes. 1970 for example was European Conservation Year, and organisations committed to conservation gained welcome publicity as a result. The Council for the Protection (previously Preservation) of Rural England was one such beneficiary. Though it had fewer than 2,000 members and spent only £34,000 in the year, * it attracted nearly 1,200 notices in local and 250 in national newspapers, and was mentioned in radio or television broadcasts on average once a fortnight. If an unobtrusive and orderly body could get so much publicity, conservation had evidendy become newsworthy — a position, broadly speaking, that it has maintained ever since. Conservation means keeping what is thought to be worth keeping — buildings, a townscape, mineral reserves, a landscape, rare plants or birds, peace and quiet — in fact anything that is valued and seems to be threatened by ‘development’ or economic change. The term also refers to concern about pollution of land, air and water, though stricdy speaking in matters of pollution the restoration of a lost state of purity is meant; no champion of the environment would wish to ‘conserve’ pollution. ‘Amenity’ is another term popular in environmental circles. It gained currency in the language of town planning through mention in the Housing, Town Planning Act of 1909. The word, meaning originally pleasantness, derives ultimately from the Latin verb amare to love. It conveys a more constructive idea than conservation, for amenities can be created — a playing field from a rubbish tip, for example — whereas conservation refers only to the preservation of existing amenities, inherited from the past.