“In wildness is the preservation of the world”. -Henry David Thoreau

Since I grew up in Conway, NH, my upbringing was surrounded by mountains, rivers, and forests that offered many opportunities for recreation. Consequently, I have developed an interest in outdoor recreation which coincides with an environmentalist philosophy that advocates the preservation of the wilderness.

As a senior majoring in English Literature at Keene State College, I have gone through the process of writing and compiling these essays for a course on environmental literature taught by Dr. Mark Long. Since I have never been acquitted with environmental literature outside of selected works by Henry David Thoreau and other Transcendental writers, I have attempted to draw connections between the literary works I have had the opportunity to read in other classes and the new texts that I have encountered in Dr. Long’s course. During my studies in this class, I have come to realize that in order to acquire a complete understanding of the purpose and importance of environmental writing, it is important to have a historical perspective considering both economic and political situations.

Throughout this course, I have learned how to expand my enjoyment of outdoor recreation to a working knowledge of the different kinds of environmental literature that make up the overall canon. I have also learned about the scientific data and chemical compounds that are a danger to the environment as outlined in Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. 

As society continues to face a rising epidemic of global and local environmental concerns such as global warming, pollutions, and shortages of available freshwater, it is important to have citizens who appreciate and are aware of the impact humanity has on the natural environment.

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