Man and Nature - Wikipedia
Man and Nature has 55 ratings and 7 reviews. Richard said: In , George Perkins Marsh published Man and Nature, the book that was the granddaddy of th. Nature and Man and millions of other books are available for Amazon Kindle. . George Perkins Marsh: Prophet of Conservation (Weyerhaeuser . Amazing work of an early American observer of the relation of man and his environment. George Perkins Marsh's book Man and Nature was the first work of . between man and nature, a connection that would underpin Marsh's own.
Mar 23, Richard Reese rated it it was amazing InGeorge Perkins Marsh published Man and Nature, the book that was the granddaddy of the modern ecology movement.
Marsh was the U. Minister to Italy, and while overseas, he visited the sites of many ancient civilizations. This was a troubling and mind-expanding experience for him. Wandering through the realms of extinct civilizations, he realized that they were all victims of self-destruction.
Man and Nature; or, Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action | Environment & Society Portal
Marsh saw ancient seaports that were now 30 miles 48 km from the sea. He saw ancient places w InGeorge Perkins Marsh published Man and Nature, the book that was the granddaddy of the modern ecology movement.
He saw ancient places where the old streets were buried beneath 30 feet 9 m of eroded soil. He stood in mainland fields, 15 miles 24 km from the sea, which used to be islands. He saw the sites of ancient forests, formerly covered with three to six feet m of soil, where nothing but exposed rock remained.Man and Nature at 150: Past Present and Future - David Lowenthal Talk
He learned that the removal of protective trees and vegetation led to the loss of topsoil. He learned that irrigation often led to salinization — the soil became so salty that it was rendered infertile.
With few exceptions, the modern population in these ravaged lands was far less than the population two thousand years ago. Most of the big ancient cities were either abandoned ghost towns, or desolate shadows of their former grandeur.
In the realm of the former Roman Empire, more than half of the lands were deserted, desolate, or greatly reduced in productivity. Forests were gone, much topsoil had been lost, springs had dried up, and rivers had shrunk into brooks. Fertile lowlands had become malarial swamps. One unforgettable section in the book described in rich detail the arrival of farmers and herders in the French Alps.
They had been driven into the mountains by population pressure. They whacked down the trees and then turned their livestock loose. The grazing animals stripped the land of all grass, and pulverized the scorched soil with their hooves.
Without forest or grass, the land could retain little water. When the wet season came, the water promptly ran off, taking the soil with it. Tiny creeks turned into roaring torrents, and entire fields and villages were suddenly washed away.
Some places were reduced to bare bedrock wastelands. He advocated for practical informed decisions and increased command over nature Lowenthal, He felt that it was important to weigh the results and act accordingly. He believed, for example, that the benefits of the Suez Canal would outweigh any adverse ecological effects. His warning was clear, however: A few quotes help to highlight the Yankee ingenuity and down-to-earth Vermont practicality that characterized his work: Man, who even now finds scarce breathing room on this vast globe, cannot retire from the Old World to some yet undiscovered continent, and wait for the slow action of such causes to replace, by a new creation, the Eden he has wasted" Marsh  The book Man and Nature was received favorably by critics, scientists and the general public alike.
Although Marsh may have missed the mark on some of his predictions, it is notable how relevant his volume is today.
It sparked the Arbor Day movement, the establishment of forest reserves and the national forest system. Marsh's influence extended beyond American borders. Foresters throughout Europe found his work valuable and one English forester even carried the tome with him to Kashmir and Tibet. On a personal note, Marsh married Harriet Buell, the daughter of a prominent Burlington landowner, inbut she died only five years later after bearing two sons.
In he married Caroline Crane, a teacher, poet, linguistic scholar in her own right and a feminist originally from Massachusetts. Caroline was fifteen years George's junior, but neither that nor his enormous intellect overwhelmed her. She shared his intellectual and artistic interests and pursued her own literary path.
About George Perkins Marsh | Marsh Institute | Clark University
She influenced Marsh to the feminist cause before it was fashionable to do so. Marsh as a result became vitally interested in women's education. There is one aspect in which he was not a true Vermonter: As he grew older he became more and more resolute about getting out of Vermont in the winter. Life in such climates is miserably shortened by the necessity of hibernating like a badger for months together, and I find the period between November and May little better than an uneasy slumber" Lowenthal His dream of escaping Vermont winters was realized when he was appointed to serve first as U.
Minister to Turkey and then in the newly formed Kingdom of Italy. Years of living in the Middle East afforded him time to travel throughout Egypt and part of Arabia. On one of these journeys he developed an obsession for the camel and was convinced that the animal might thrive in the American deserts. In addition to transportation, Marsh thought that the camel could prove useful in wars in the Southwest. Inspired by a lecture Marsh delivered at the Smithsonian upon his return to the States, Congress ordered 74 camels from the Middle East to be shipped to Texas in The experiment failed, mostly because of the onset of the Civil War and the unfamiliarity with the ways of the camel on the part of the army's equestrian division.
Man and Nature: Or, Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action
It is fitting that the George Perkins Marsh Institute at Clark University is named after an inquisitive scholar who had a gift to see scientific and social problems from fresh perspectives. In all of his work, whether as a farmer, linguist or diplomat, he integrated the knowledge of the day with pragmatic personal observations.
As David Lowenthal points out, to understand Marsh's "omnicompetence" one needs to look at the 19th century Vermont way of life which fostered many diverse talents Marsh's early semi-blindness forced him away from reading and into observing the forests near his boyhood home.
With his voracious appetite for all knowledge he grew into a generalist who developed a concept of human geography that was unique in his time.
It is in the spirit of this genius of pursuing an understanding of nature-society relationships that characterizes the work of the George Perkins Marsh Institute at Clark University. For more on George Perkins Marsh see: The Polymath From Vermont.
The Virginia Quarterly Review Winter.