Topics in Environmental History: John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and the Advent of Biocentrism
Brown, George I.
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I enter this project with a belief that ideas have the power to engender action. While it is conceivable that some historical events have occurred spontaneously, the vast majority were rooted in various beliefs, attitudes, agendas, and paradigms. The ideas of individuals such as Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther, Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Martin Luther King Jr. among others, have significantly altered the way much of the world thinks and acts. While it is important, as Donald Worster believes, for environmental history "to discover how a whole culture, rather than exceptional individuals in it, perceived and valued nature," I maintain that it is also important to study particular figures who have helped shape powerful minority views about nature today.