It is generally accepted that the Transcendentalist movement in New England, in the 19th century, was one of the earliest movements in the United States to have an environmental bent to it. Henry David Thoreau published Walden in 1854, which opined about the virtues of living simply while being mindful of the natural environment. Around the same time, perhaps a couple decades later, John Muir became one of the first American conservationists.
It’s important to consider that, historically, there have been many cultures that valued the natural world, particularly native cultures. We often think of the environmental movement in the US as having begun in the 19th century, but in reality, Native Americans practiced environmentally-sensitive methods of living as an integral part of their culture and history for centuries prior.
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