A word for nature: four pioneering environmental advocates, by Robert L. Dorman

By Robert L. Dorman

The careers and concepts of 4 figures of enormous significance within the background of yankee conservation—George Perkins Marsh, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, and John Wesley Powell—are explored in A notice for Nature. Robert Dorman deals energetic photos of every of those early environmental advocates, who witnessed firsthand the effect of financial enlargement and commercial revolution on fragile landscapes from the forests of latest England to the mountains of the West. by way of reading the nineteenth-century international during which the 4 males lived—its society, economic climate, politics, and culture—Dorman sheds gentle at the roots of yankee environmentalism. He presents an outline of the early many years of either source conservation and wasteland protection, discussing how Marsh, Thoreau, Muir, and Powell helped outline the problems that all started altering the nation's attitudes towards its setting by means of the early 20th century. Dorman's readings of works together with Marsh's guy and Nature, Thoreau's The Maine Woods, Muir's The Mountains of California, and Powell's record at the Lands of the Arid area exhibit their authors' impact on environmental concept and politics even as much as the current day.

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A word for nature: four pioneering environmental advocates, 1845-1913

The careers and ideas of 4 figures of huge value within the background of yankee conservation—George Perkins Marsh, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, and John Wesley Powell—are explored in A notice for Nature. Robert Dorman deals vigorous pix of every of those early environmental advocates, who witnessed firsthand the effect of financial enlargement and business revolution on fragile landscapes from the forests of recent England to the mountains of the West.

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Uncoordinated and unplanned, their individual ventures built piecemeal the rudiments of a national economy, most important of all, the beginnings of a nationwide transportation system. Thoreau, for example, traveled as much down man-made canals as he did natural streams over the course of his Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849). The Merrimack was among the most heavily used rivers in America by midcentury. There was scarcely a ten-mile stretch along its course that men like Marsh had not dammed for power or diverted into canals.

The area had been mostly a "silent wilderness" where the "red man" was the "lord of the land'' until the time of the Revolution. " Cooper perceived the acquisitive spirit in the bustling village as well. " 8 As Cooper implied, the economic expansion necessary to fulfill the "wants" of this "gormandizing people" had substantial environmental effects, both in her region and throughout the country. Dyes and waste products from the new factories polluted rivers and streams. Wildlife and fisheries were depleted as they were fished or hunted out and their habitats were destroyed.

They are among its founders, those who in the nineteenth century asked some of the origi- Page xii nal definitive questions and provided long influential answers, cited and debated endlessly by their twentieth-century heirs. These early founders, George Perkins Marsh, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, and John Wesley Powell, are the main subjects of this study. Yet others also made substantial contributions to the larger corpus of environmental thought and culture during the 1800s, some of whom especially women writers and advocates have only recently begun to receive the recognition that they deserve.

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