In the course of western civilisation, wilderness was usually regarded as worthless and hostile, something that had to be destroyed, subdued, tamed or exploited. This attitude started to change fundamentally in the nineteenth century. American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson was among the first to notice the aesthetic and spiritual value of nature. His friend and mentee Henry David Thoreau spent more than two years in a forest at Walden Pond to experience simple living and the beauties of the natural world. The views of Emerson and Thoreau culminated in the work of John Muir, the father of the national parks, co-founder of the Sierra Club, one of the greatest icons in the history of nature conservation. A philosopher, nature writer, and conservation activist, Muir led millions to appreciate nature’s treasures and advocate conservation efforts.
KeywordsRomanticism Ralph Waldo Emerson Henry David Thoreau John Muir Walden Yosemite Sierra Club Wilderness
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