Main Topic: Our World
Topic: North America
Speaker: Fred Nielsen
The Origins of American Environmentalism
The intellectual roots of American environmentalism are found in the works of three 19th-century New Englanders—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and George Perkins Marsh. Emerson and Thoreau laid the groundwork for an ethic to protect the environment with their aesthetic and spiritual appreciation of nature. Marsh was the first modern ecologist. Nielsen describes the contributions of each in developing an appreciation for the natural world and the human relationship to it.