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While “going green” may seem like a trendy, the conservation movement is hardly new. Conservationism, the movement and practice of conservation, is dedicated to preserving the natural world and protecting it for the future. Ecology is a key focus for the movement so that we can safeguard the delicate balance of ecosystems and maintain biodiversity. Conservation is more than simply protecting nature; it’s about learning to live in harmony with it and ensuring that this natural splendour can continue to exist for generations to come. 

People have been advocating for the protection and preservation of nature and natural resources for hundreds of years, spanning from the seventeenth century all the way to modern times. Here are some famous conservationists that you should know. 

John Evelyn

John Evelyn lived during the seventeenth-century movement called The Enlightenment and served under King Charles II. A prolific author, he wrote about thirty books, including one of the most influential books on forestry, Sylva, or a Discourse of Forest-trees, and the Propagation of Timber. Evelyn first presented Sylva as a paper to the Royal Society as a paper in 1662, and it wasn’t until two years later in 1664 that the work was published as a book. In it, he highlighted the impact of deforestation in England, an aftereffect of both industrialization and a recent civil war. In addition, John Evelyn’s seminal work catalogued the various types of trees in the United Kingdom, complete with detailed descriptions, explanations on how to cultivate them, and their uses. 

Hugh Cleghorn

A Scotsman by lineage born in India, Hugh Cleghorn earned the distinction of being the “father of scientific forestry in India.” As a botanist, Cleghorn gained attention from the Indian administration for his speeches about the failure of agriculture in India. With the administration’s help, he established India’s first forest conservation organization, the Tamil Nadu Forest Department (formerly known as the Madras Forest Department). His work highlighted the impact of the British colonization of India on deforestation and encouraged the government to reform its timber cultivation methods. 

John Muir

John Muir is one of the most famous conservationists in American history. For his advocacy for the protection and preservation of natural areas, Muir is often referred to as the “Father of Our National Park System.”  His writing helped to influence congress to establish national parts including Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and Sequoia. In 1892, John Muir founded the Sierra Club with a group of his supporters to protect the Sierra Nevada from degradation. Today, his legacy continues as the Sierra Club is one of the largest grassroots environmental organizations in the world.