We recently spoke with Jon Christensen of UCLA who thinks that John Muir’s legacy is outdated. Cynics might think it’s because the future is bleak and it’s hopeless to keep chasing after the preservation of huge swathes of untouched wilderness.
But that would be missing the point.
More has changed since Muir’s time than the state of the environment. Our relationship with the environment has changed, too. Even the “We” has changed. California is not what it was when Muir first explored the Sierras. It’s a culturally diverse, technologically-advanced place. It’s a place whose inhabitants interact with the environment in a myriad of ways – including new, previously-unimagined ways.
The problem with Muir’s legacy is not that it’s old. Or that it’s no longer feasible. Or that it’s no longer good. It’s that it overshadows other forms of nature appreciation.
Beneath Muir’s legacy is a diverse understory of perspectives on nature.