Unexpected additions to the Environmentalists

Started by Terry Jackson (Switzer) on Friday, April 20, 2012


Profiles Mentioned:

Related Projects:

Showing 1-30 of 44 posts
4/20/2012 at 1:33 AM

If we add someone to a project for whom it is not their key claim to fame we should ensure that there is something in the about me relating to the project, otherwise it just looks like a mistake.

Examples I've noticed at first glance
Charles Dickens
Emily Dickenson

I have a large book about Charles Dickens so I'll see later if it mentions more than a passing interest in the environment.

4/20/2012 at 1:54 AM

- Emily Dickinson was influenced by the transcendentalists and as deeply descriptive of nature, in her own way, as Thoreau in his.
- Dickens was a social reformer as well as a great novelist. His depictions of child labor - and London pollution - helped galvanize more formal efforts to address excesses of the industrial revolution. "The timeline of Environmental history" considers his work very much part of the context and background.

I don't make this stuff up! :). Sorry I didn't edit in the precise references.

Private User
4/20/2012 at 1:58 AM

I was taught that Dickens was one of the first environmentalists. He was directly involved in clearing several slums from London, and encouraged the changing of others into a liveable precinct.

He used his writings to further his objection to the urban environment.

4/20/2012 at 2:06 AM

And thank goodness the John Muir tree is going up! The Sierra Club is so deeply infuenntial here.

4/20/2012 at 9:21 AM

I am extremely ignorant, especially of US politics. I of course know for sure that Al Gore was an environmentalist but can someone confirm that the other US politicians listed weren't just coerced into taking a green action by environmentalists in their time? I am reluctant to give credit to someone if they had their arms twisted behind their backs to do something. (I'm not saying this is the case just that I don't know whether it would be or not)

4/20/2012 at 9:49 AM

Terry every profile added is from one of the lists under external links. I always rely on other people's information, not my own opinion.

As example, Theodore Roosevelt, President, started the National Parks system. Franklin D. Roosevelt, President, enacted the Civilian Conservation Corps in the Great Depression which put over 9 million men to work on conservation projects.

4/20/2012 at 9:51 AM

I am still giggling at the idea that "environmental activists coerced ...". "Teddy" WAS an environmental activist and was not (much) coerced by anyone, ever. :)

4/20/2012 at 10:28 AM

Yeah, Teddy was the one doing the coercing!

4/20/2012 at 10:33 AM

I just uploaded an interesting paper about the politics of conservation vs preservation that Teddy straddled in balancing Muir's activism and Pinchot's professionalism.

This quote intrigues me: "Gifford Pinchot returned to America in 1890 from France, where he had been studying forestry. He was shocked to see the inefficient abuse of national resources in the U.S ..."

So who was doing the great forestry in France?

Private User
4/20/2012 at 3:19 PM

I would suggest the term 'Conservationists' rather than 'Environmentalists' for this project as it appears more appropriate to peoples expectations.

Audubon could be added, but he was more of a naturalist. I doubt that conservation occurred to him, blasting away at any bird he could find.

4/20/2012 at 3:41 PM

However the Audobon Society is greatly involved in conservation issues.

I agree there is confusion about terminology and they all do mean slightly different things - preservationists, naturalists, conservationists, ecologists, environmentalists (more) - and all not necessarily activists -- and evolution and overlap as humans do tend to resist categorization at times.

But in honor of a billion people slated to participate globally in "Earth Day 2012" - let's be inclusive! :)

Private User
4/20/2012 at 4:06 PM

Teddy had a similar outlook. I think he viewed his efforts as creating game reserves, so that he would always have something to shoot.

Cousteau would be worth mentioning.

4/20/2012 at 4:14 PM

There's a private Costeau family group on Geni. I'm after Stewart Brand of the Whole Earth catalog etc. But not easily finding his family background.

Private User
4/20/2012 at 4:15 PM

If you haven't already detected, I'm rather perplexed at Geni's move into emphasising non-family-related projects. An ever-increasing number of single-profile trees seems to be the result. As a marketing tool, I think people would be disappointed in Geni when they browse within a project.

To use the argument that they will all eventually link up is odd. Why not enter the 1903 Frisco phone book?

4/20/2012 at 4:28 PM

Ah, but you will see I use a project as a tool to tree build into the big tree as "we are all connected.". For instance Dan and I took on Gaylord Nelson as he is descended from (among many other interesting people) New Amsterdam colony pioneers - well established profiles on Geni with many descendants. So my "job" is to build up from him and then "hook in" as can best be documented. If I'm not able to "prove it" through one line, I have confidence I or someone will through another - his documented Norwegian immigrant grandparents, perhaps.

And in the meantime I learn about the history of Wisconsin, a place I've never been and that faced different pioneering challenges from my own ancestors. So the contrast clarifies for me my "own" family tree.

4/20/2012 at 5:06 PM

Ok, points taken, I did say I am ignorant however if "George dubya" gets on here then I'll know something fishy is going on....
It'a amazing how many conservationists there are when you start counting and there are a great many doing great work that are complete unknowns.... I went to an environment event last night, so many committed people just from this area!
I agree that Conservationist may be a better term or an adjacent term for this project. Are we extending to basic naturalists like Charles Darwin?

Private User
4/20/2012 at 5:09 PM

I think you'll find that most are not following your systematic approach. Just browsing around Projects, I'm finding single-profile trees, and not much else.

4/20/2012 at 5:44 PM

I would love if "environmental history makers" in Australia were added to the project - is there a good list to work from and reference?

I'll have to think about Darwin - my first thought it "yes, as a naturalist he is seminal," but again, I need a reference.

The formal "conservation" movement in the US kicked off in 1851 when "the mother of the Forest" tree was sawn down. Instead of being thrilled, "the public" was outraged. In 1963 the publication of "Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson started the investigations etc. that (along with other factors of course) resulted in the great "teach-in" that was the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970.

What I would want from this project is an understanding of the players in the historical forces that led to these events. There's a journal of Medieval Environmentalism as example. And how have other cultures managed their natural resources to best effect?

So many questions ....

4/20/2012 at 6:13 PM

I guess my feeling is that I like the term "environmentalist" as being more inclusive and also current. If we gain some critical mass, create related projects to better refine and define historical context versus current issues. - which also vary. We might want to "relate" projects in the hard sciences, life sciences, and literature sooner.

4/21/2012 at 11:22 AM

Wikipedia defines it this way:


The environmental movement, a term that includes the conservation and green politics, is a diverse scientific, social, and political movement for addressing environmental issues. ... The roots of the modern environmental movement can be traced to attempts in 19th-century Europe and North America to expose the costs of environmental negligence, notably disease, as well as widespread air and water pollution ....

So if I follow correctly, "contemporary environmentalism" would include conservation and preservation.

4/29/2012 at 4:04 PM

By what stretch of the imagination can Buzz Aldrin possibly be viewed as an environmentalist?!!!!! Going up in space and such are on my list of one of the least environmentally friendly things to do! Sure he may have admired how beautiful the planet was from up there but so what has he done to counteract the harm he's done?

4/29/2012 at 4:12 PM

Again I stress I don't know much about American politics but in the about me for Eugene J. McCarthy, U.S. Senator I can only see references to things that I consider non-environmental and nothing to say he was an environmentalist. If a politician passes a bill or gets on a band wagon for an aspect of environmentalism that does not make him in my view an envrionmentalist.

4/29/2012 at 4:25 PM

Terry - did you see the document on Eugene McCarthy (and others) profile?

It's the original Earth Day proclamation ratified by the UN. There were ten Signers. My local congressman (at one time) was the very first signer. U Thant was another, who was head of the UN at the time and for many years after (unfortunately I could not find a profile for him on Geni).

Interestingly Earth Day was proposed to coincide with the spring equinox but the better powers of organization by Gaylord Nelson and Denis Hayes resulted in the great "teach in for the environment" on 22 April 1970.

4/29/2012 at 4:32 PM


I had also added it as a link on the front page of this project under the heading "Original Signers of the 1970 Earth Day Proclamation" and a "sourced fact" on his profile. But I didn't write the overview - Wikipedia did.

4/29/2012 at 4:36 PM

I agree with Terry about Buzz Aldrin ... I don't see a strong environmental presence in his interests and efforts.

4/29/2012 at 4:43 PM

LIkewise for McCarthy -- after a bit of reading, I don't think that signing the Earth Day proclamation by itself warrants inclusion as an environmentalist. There are MANY of those signers I would not put in as notable environmentalists!

4/29/2012 at 4:46 PM

Dan & Terry

I was there. They shut down NYC. It was all over the media. If there is a "start date" for the current wave of environmental activism, this was it. So I looked for "proof" of how it got organized. This proclamation was one of the ways.

4/29/2012 at 4:47 PM

I didn't add it as "notables" - perhaps we need a list for them?

Private User
4/29/2012 at 6:25 PM

I don't see that a politician taking ten minutes out of their life to make a speech or sign a document makes them a candidate for this list. Ms Clinton would be on hundreds of lists for all the things she feels 'deeply about' - she's a politician, and naturally is behind every cause.

The list is so open to opinion, I don't see it accomplishing anything.

4/29/2012 at 7:04 PM

Ken that's not my research on how the signing of this proclamation came about. Apparently it was a grass roots effort by one "little guy" who finally got through to some people with "connections" - but even the people with "connections" had to work their (manual Rolodexes) pretty hard.

I can understand why it's obscure and just because I found it an interesting story others might not.

Showing 1-30 of 44 posts

Create a free account or login to participate in this discussion