Thoreau lived well before the modern environmentalist movement. Natural conservation wasn’t really an issue until the late 19th century with the first establishment of national parks. Environmental protection did not become a topic of political interest until the mid twentieth century. This said, Thoreau’s vivid and poetic descriptions of the natural world and his philosophy of romantic naturalism contributed to the cultural idea of Nature as a place of sublimity and spiritual sanctity. Does this count as hands on?
To read an article about Thoreau’s legacy in the modern environmentalist movement, click here:
Thoreau was mostly a descriptive and philiosophical writer, but he did do some research on forest succession while working as a surveyor in the 1850s. His observations on how seeds spread are recognized as an important contribution to the field.
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