John Muir in the New World

John Muir

John Muir

John Muir – preservationist, naturalist, author, explorer, activist, scientist, farmer -was a wanderer. From Wisconsin to Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada, from the Alhambra Valley of California to the glaciers of Alaska, this Scottish American is remembered as the father of the environmental movement.

John Muir in The Atlantic Monthly. “The forests of America, however slighted by man, must have been a great delight to God; for they were the best he ever planted.” He described trees with a diameter of twenty feet as “lordly monarchs proclaiming the gospel of beauty like apostles.”

“Every other civilized nation in the world has been compelled to care for its forests, and so must we if waste and destruction are not to go on to the bitter end.”

Even though Muir used a language of reverence, he did not say that the forests and the nation’s natural resources were not to be used. He wrote of America opening itself to “good men of every nation,” who should be “as free to pick gold and gems from the hills, to cut and hew, dig and plant, for homes and bread, as the birds are to pick berries from the wild bushes, and moss and leaves for nests.”

Like a preacher exhorting his congregation, Muir went on to say, “Mere destroyers, however, tree-killers, wool and mutton men, spreading death and confusion in the fairest groves and gardens ever planted,—let the government hasten to cast them out and make an end of them.”

American Masters: John Muir in the New World
4/18, 9:00pm WOSU TV
4/19, 1:00am WOSU TV
4/19, 9:00 pm WOSU PLUS