Environmental Movement Leaders | Ms. Laura Branch

AP Environmental Science

Environmental History’s Most Significant Individuals

(In order of birth date)


1776 – Thomas Malthus (died 1834); demographer who predicted that human population growth would outstrip the Earth’s resources

1785 – John James Audubon (died 1851); artist who advocated for the protection of North American birds

1801 – George Perkins Marsh (died 1882); wrote Man and Nature; was concerned about the loss of natural resources

1803 – Ralph Waldo Emerson (died 1882); felt that nature served as the foundation for spiritual belief

1817 – Henry David Thoreau (died 1862); wrote Walden Pond

1821 – John Conness (died 1909); Senator from California who first introduce legislation to preserve Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias that was later signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on June 30th, 1864

1837 – John Burroughs (died 1921); wrote essays on nature

1838 – John Muir (died 1914); helped to establish Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks; founded the Sierra Club

1858 – Harriet Hemenway (died 1960);started nation-wide, bird protection movement; started Audubon Chapter

1858 – Theodore Roosevelt (died 1919); first U.S. president to promote wide-spread conservation of forest lands

1863 – Florence Bailey (died 1948); sought protection for birds; wrote articles and guidebooks about birds

1865 – Gifford Pinchot (died 1946); first head of the U.S. Forest Service

1867 – Stephen Mather (died 1930); first director of the National Park Service

1869 – Alice Hamilton (died 1970); helped to establish the field of environmental toxicology

1887 – Aldo Leopold (died 1948); published Sand County Almanac; promoted the importance of wilderness

1890 – Marjory Stoneman Douglas (died 1998); worked for the protection of the Florida Everglades

1898 – William O. Douglas (died 1980); Supreme Court Justice who felt nature had legal standing

1901 – Robert “Bob” Marshall (died 1939); founded the Wilderness Society

1902 – Ansel Adams (died 1984); an artist who helped promote the National Parks and environmental protection through photography

1904 – George Melendez Wright (died 1936); initiated wildlife management in the National Parks

1907 – Rachel Carson (died 1964); published Silent Spring; alerted the world to the dangers of pesticides

1910 – Jacques Cousteau (died 1997); made the world aware of the importance of protecting our oceans

1912 – David Brower (died 2000); executive director of the Sierra Club; founded Friends of the Earth

1915 – Garrett Hardin (died 2003) wrote Tragedy of the Commons

1916 – Gaylord Nelson (died 2005); U.S. Senator who was the principal founder of the first Earth Day in 1970

1917 – Barry Commoner; wrote The Closing Circle which explained his four laws of ecology

1919 – James Lovelock; developed the Gaia Hypothesis and supports nuclear energy as a solution to Global Warming

1920 – Stuart Udall; former U.S. Secretary of the Interior under Kennedy and Johnson who helped to establish many important U.S. environmental laws

1926 – David Attenborough; has produced numerous nature and environmental documentaries

1927 – Edward Abbey (died 1989); environmental author

1928 – Marion Stoddart; fought to protect the Nashua River in Massachusetts

1929 – Edward O. Wilson; Harvard professor concerned with species extinction

1932 – Paul Ehrlich; wrote The Population Bomb

1932 – Dian Fossey (murdered 1985); fought to save the Mountain Gorillas

1934 – Jane Goodall; studied and has worked to protect the chimpanzees of Africa

1940 – Wangari Maathai; founded the Green Belt Movement in Africa which focuses on the planting of trees

1944 – Chico Mendes (murdered 1988); fought to save the Brazilian rainforest

1947 – Dave Foreman; founder of Earth First!

1948 – Al Gore; produced An Inconvenient Truth

1952 – Vandana Shiva; Indian women who is concerned about the effects of globalization on the Earth’s environment

1952 – Lois Gibbs; Love Canal activist

1954 – Robert Kennedy,Jr. Environmental attorney and writer

© Laura Branch 2017