which do you resonate most with?
Born in Scotland, John Muir moved to the United States as a child in 1849, where he began his lifelong journey as an environmental activist. He advocated for the National Park bill, which was passed in 1890, establishing Yosemite Valley and the Sequoia as national parks. He also founded the Sierra Club, one of America’s oldest grassroots environmental organizations. Today, he is referred to as the "Father of National Parks."
One of America’s most celebrated architects, Frank Lloyd Wright was most influenced by nature. His love for nature sprouted early in his life, when he spent his summers working on his uncle’s farm milking cows and eating home-grown food. As a teacher, he encouraged his students to study nature for inspiration, and as an architect, he incorporated light, plants, and water into his buildings.
As Canada’s most famous environmentalist, David Suzuki has spent the past three decades supporting a healthier, natural world. He’s a long-time activist of sustainable fishing, clean energy, and reversing climate change.
As the man behind the theory of relativity, Albert Einstein is best known for his work in quantum physics. But the scientist also had a deep connection with nature, which informed his world views. He spent his life trying to understand the inner-workings of the universe—how light, gravity, time, and energy are all connected.
Edward Abbey was an American author with a radical environmental side that he developed while working as a ranger at various National Parks in the United States throughout the 1950s and 1960s. His most-lauded work was Desert Solitaire, a nature narrative about working as a backcountry park ranger in Southeastern Utah.
Although American author Henry David Thoreau has enough work to fill more than 20 volumes, his most beloved writings concern natural history, ecology, and environmental history. His most famous novel, Walden, which was published in 1854, is about his experience living self-sufficiently in a cabin he built near Concord, Massachusetts.
John Burroughs was an American naturalist and essayist, and a close friend of fellow American writer, Walt Whitman. It was Whitman who encouraged Burroughs to develop his nature writing, a central theme throughout all of his work. Burroughs would often make trips back to his native Catskills, New York, and write about his adventures in hiking, fly fishing, and rafting down the Delaware River.
Pulitzer Prize winning poet Gary Snyder began his career as a Beat writer in the 1950s alongside Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. By the late 1960s, after living in Japan for almost a decade, Synder’s prose became more focused on the environment and Buddhist spirituality. Dubbed the “poet laureate of Deep Ecology,” the 84-year-oldatah Snyder currently lives on a farmstead in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, but still finds time to give lectures about humans and our relationship with nature.
Ralph Waldo Emerson is best known as the leader of the transcendentalist movement— the belief that people are best when self-reliant and independent from organized religion, political parties, and other societal institutions. But Emerson was also the leading thinker of another budding movement: nature conservation. His 1836 essay, Nature, would have a profound effect on environmental thought on conservation.
While American poet Sylvia Plath is best known for her dark, confessional poetry, nature was also a potent theme in her work. Her landscape poetry includes allusions to North York Moors National Park in England, seascapes, gardens, and other aspects of the natural world.
American biologist, conservationist, and writer Rachel Carson is a pioneer of the global environmental movement. Her 1962 book Silent Spring, which details the harmful effects of pesticides on the environment and wildlife, eventually led to a nationwide ban on DDT for agricultural uses and inspired the founding of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1970.