31 Mar '12, 11am

Scientists use Thoreau’s journal notes to track climate change

The man considered the first environmentalist is now helping scientists track climate change. (Image by Michael Allen Smith.) Fittingly for a man seen as the first environmentalist, Henry David Thoreau, who described his isolated life in 1840s Massachusetts in the classic of American literature Walden , is now helping scientists pin down the impacts of climate change. The American author, who died in 1862, is best known for his account of the two years he spent living in a one-room wooden cabin near Walden Pond “because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life.” Packed with descriptions of the natural world he loved, Walden is partly autobiographical, partly a manifesto for Thoreau’s belief in the rightness of living close to nature. “I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude,” he writes. “Simplify, simplify.” But Tho...

Full article: http://grist.org/climate-change/scientists-use-thoreaus-j...

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