For most of history, humanity just struggled to survive in an unforgiving environment. Only in the past century or so did we start to dominate nature and overrun the planet. Rather than defend ourselves against nature, we began to realize, we needed to defend nature against ourselves. Thus was born the environmental movement. These pages recognize men and women who helped give us this awareness--and pointed the way to protecting the only home we have.
THEODORE ROOSEVELT 1858-1919
He may have carried a big stick in foreign policy, but Teddy Roosevelt's greatest accomplishment was domestic. Curbing the relentless private exploitation of America's natural treasures, especially in the West, he brought millions of acres of land into the public domain, helped by the indomitable Gifford Pinchot (1865-1946), head of the revitalized U.S. Forest Service. Favoring rational exploitation of resources, T.R. and Pinchot were not environmentalists in the current sense. But together they made conservation national policy for the first time in U.S. history.
JOHN MUIR 1838-1914
Whether climbing Alaskan glaciers or guiding Teddy Roosevelt through Yosemite National Park, left, Scottish-born John Muir saw wilderness as something quasi-spiritual, where "tired, nerve-shaken, overcivilized people" could find renewal. As a nature writer and the Sierra Club's founding president, he argued eloquently for preservation, as when he battled to save Yosemite's beautiful Hetch Hetchy Valley--you might "as well dam for water tanks the people's cathedrals and churches," he fumed. Muir lost, yet his words still echo with each new threat to wild places.
ERNEST SCHUMACHER 1911-1977
As economists go, German-born Ernest F. ("Fritz") Schumacher was an oddball. He didn't believe in endless growth, mega-companies or unlimited consumption. His 1973 book with the bumper-sticker title Small Is Beautiful became an eco-bible (worldwide sales: 4 million copies). Urging the West not to foist fuel-gulping technologies on poor nations, he instead favored "appropriate" solutions--oxen, say, rather than job-eliminating tractors. In posthumous tribute, even the World Bank now agrees that small-scale aid projects, relying mainly on the people themselves, are indeed beautiful.
BARBARA WARD 1914-1981
In books, articles and lectures, Britain's Barbara Ward did more than anyone else in her day to focus attention on the Third World--and the fact that its poverty threatened the entire natural world. "I read it like I do the Bible," said President Lyndon Johnson of her 1962 study, The Rich Nations and the Poor Nations. A Roman Catholic, she cheered the church's fight against inequity. Her plea for ecological sanity, Only One Earth, helped shape the U.N. environment conference in Stockholm in 1972. Co-author Rene Dubos praised her as an "economist who can talk to people through her human qualities."
PAUL CRUTZEN 1933- F. SHERWOOD ROWLAND 1927- MARIO MOLINA 1943-