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Preserving The Green (John Muir)

Founder of the United States’ most significant environmental advocacy groups, maker of the Sierra Club, and father of the country’s National Park System, John Muir is often attributed for commencing the modern Conservation movement. His articles and lobbying efforts helped to create awareness about the importance of land conservation and forests in America.

He was born in Dunbar, Scotland, on April 21, 1838. In his primary school, he studied French, English, and Latin. His father made an immediate plan to emigrate to America in 1849. He settled along with his family in the new frontier, forming the community of Fountain Lake, Wisconsin (Winkley 1959). For the next few years, Muir worked on his family farm. He mostly woke up early to spend some time reading different books. His desire for science urged him to leave his father’s farm. In 1860, Muir’s friend encouraged him to show some of his inventions at the Wisconsin State Agriculture Fair. His unbelievable work earned him high honours for his “machines”, and suddenly, he drew the attention of many people from the University of Wisconsin. Despite having insufficient formal education, Muir was admitted to Wisconsin University.

He became a successful student in natural science subjects for three academic years, but he suddenly halted his studies. He went to Canada and began his career as a mechanic. Unfortunately, the factory in which he was working was burned to the ground. Muir travelled to Indianapolis and started working in a wheel manufacturing company. Muir’s got blinded by a sharp file in a shop accident. He resigned from that job even after being recovered. Then he travelled towards San Francisco and finally went to the Sierra Nevada, and he decided to stay there.

Muir spent a lot of his time working and hiking in the Sierra mountain range. He starts to study about the glaciers. He wrote a series of his articles about the importance of Nature and its conservation in 1874. His articles got a great response and soon began to be published in the country’s favourite magazines. According to his reports, people have begun to embrace the idea of preserving nature genuinely. He also documented his experience with wildlife in the Sierra. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Theodore Roosevelt, the famous dignitaries, were impressed by his work. They spent some valuable time with Muir in the Sierra Nevada mountain ranges on some occasions (Winkley 1959).

In 1890, the United States Congress created the Yosemite National Park under the advice and encouragement of John Muir’s writing. Muir was aware that the creation of the U.S. National Park system would help others to learn more about the conservation of nature, and it would also allow the future generation to adore nature. Sequoia, Mount Rainier, Petrified Forest, and Grand Canyon National Parks were created because of Muir’s writing and encouragement. The purpose of building these parks was to preserve the beauty of nature. He brought national attention to nature preservation. He got married at the age of 40 and was blessed with two daughters.

John Muir’s most significant achievement was the formation of the Sierra Club with the help of some persons who also shared his conservationist vision. Sierra Club was formed to preserve Sierra Nevada and make it more accessible to visitors. John Muir had served as the president of the Sierra Club. Sierra Club opposed the idea of building the dam in the Yosemite region, but they failed to stop it. John Muir died at the age of sixty-one due to pneumonia in Los Angeles, California (Sierra Club 2002).

Works Cited

Winkley, John W., and John Muir. “John Muir, Naturalist.” (1959).

Worster, Donald. A passion for nature: the life of John Muir. Oxford University Press, 2008.



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