Fifty Key Thinkers on the Environment

Fifty Key Thinkers on the Environment

Fifty Key Thinkers on the Environment

Fifty Key Thinkers on the Environment


Fifty Key Thinkers on the Environment is a unique guide to environmental thinking through the ages. Joy Palmer has assembled a team of over twenty expert contributors to summarize and analyze the thinking of fifty diverse and stimulating figures from all over the world and from ancient times to the present Among those included are philosophers such as Jean Jacques Rousseau, activists such as Chico Mendes, literary giants such as Virgil, and major religious figures such as Gotama (The Buddha). Lucid, scholarly and informative, these fifty essays offer a fascinating overview of mankind's view and understanding of the physical world.


This book is intended to be a valuable resource for readers with an interest in ‘influential lives’ relating to critical thinking and action which has influenced the environmental movement, and in the intellectual history of environmental philosophy and related fields.

Each essay follows a common format. An opening quotation sets the scene, then readers are provided with an overview of the subject’s work and basic biographical information. Each author then engages in critical reflection which aims to illuminate the influence, importance, and perhaps innovative character, of the subject’s thinking and, where appropriate, actions. In other words, authors have moved beyond the purely descriptive and have provided a discussion of the nature of the intellectual or practical impact that the life, thinking and works of each figure made or is making upon our understanding of or attitudes towards environmental matters.

At the end of each essay, I have provided information that will lead interested readers into further and more detailed study. Firstly, there are the references for the notes to which the numbers in the text refer; secondly, there is a cross-referencing with other subjects in the book whose thought or influence relates in some obvious way to that of the subject of the essay; thirdly, there is a list of the subject’s major writings (where applicable); and finally, there is a list of references for those who wish to pursue more in-depth reading on the subject.

What a tremendously difficult task it was to decide on the final list of fifty environmentalists to be included in this volume. Inevitably, I and my advisory editors were inundated with suggestions and ideas for influential people, who, for the obvious reason of lack of space, had to be left out. The fifty subjects finally decided upon include the very obvious ‘great names’ in the environmental

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