Friday, January 20, 2017

John Muir, environmentalist extraordinaire

I first heard of John Muir when my dad started working in a medical facility named after him. Then when my dad and I would fetch my mom from work, we'd pass by an old house with a National Park Service marker. Curious, I thought... who is this famous guy called John Muir, whose name is found in many places frequented by my family.

So on a "culture vulture" afternoon, Daddy and I thought it was a good idea to set off early from the house to visit the historical landmark and get to know a bit about the man and why he's famous in California. Turns out that his house is actually a mansion, with all the creature comforts for someone who loves to stay within the high social circles.

And rightly so, since John married into a rich family. However, the alta de sociedad life is not for him... he preferred being in the great outdoors and then writing about his adventures and the beauty of the western wilderness for newspapers.

He was a major mover that led to the California we see today, a state that has a lot of conserved wilderness and forests that travelers like me, now enjoy. This, despite the urban zones that grow brought about by economic and industrial developments in the state.

I really wish that the Philippines has a strong advocate into wilderness conservation like John Muir. We have a lot of natural resources and beautiful beaches and mountains. But the pressures of increased tourism will eventually damage the once pristine conditions of mountains and beaches. And the constant pressure of building cities can lead to forests being chopped down to give way for the concrete jungle.