George Perkins Marsh
“All Nature is linked together by invisible bonds and every organic creature, however low, however feeble, however dependent, is necessary to the well-being of some other among the myriad forms of life.”
-George Perkins Marsh
Happy Rebellion Month! This month in the United States, we celebrate the rebellion that founded our nation with fireworks, family gatherings, and BBQs. Therefore, we would like to look at an early American environmentalist and outspoken advocate for nature conservation: George Perkins Marsh. A significant figure in what is today known as the Progressive Era, he is often credited for inspiring the Conservation Movement in the late 1800s.
Born in Vermont, Marsh was surrounded by the beauty of nature- though often stayed indoors due to a medical condition. He was well-traveled for a man of his time, having served as the United States Minister to the Ottoman Empire (present day Turkey), and later as the first United States Minister to the kingdom of Italy. By supporting formal female education, and organizing the foundation of the Smithsonian Institute, Marsh was a man ahead of his time.
In his book, “Man and Nature”, Marsh was the first to explore the idea that nature and social constructs were interdependent in a time where the majority could not imagine how mankind could harm the environment. He advocated for the government to make well-informed decisions when it came to land usage, and stood decidedly against deforestation for private profit. His book was widely read throughout the United States, and helped sparked the Arbor Day movement and partially inspired the creation of the US Forest Service and National Parks.