The pristine myth is the idea that in 1492 the Americas were pristine, or to say, they were unviolated. This idea works off of the premise that it is the settlers who sullied the land and started the erosion and deforestation. The myth in this is the idea that the indians were actually quite successful in detiriorating the grasslands all on their own. This idea proclaims that it is possible that the land was healthier in the late 1700s than in the early 1500s.
The “pristine myth ” is the belief that the Americas in 1491 were almost untouched, Eden-like lands. The Wilderness Act of 1964, which was one of the founding documents of the global environment movement according to Charles C. Mann, upheld this idea. Geographer William Denevan in his book, The Pristin Myth: The Landscape of the Americas in 1492, attempts to debunk this myth and reveal how it has influenced the environmental movement today.
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