Born in Dunbar Scotland April 21, 1838, John Muir spent most of his childhood outside exploring with his friends. He believed that “Freedom and Wilderness go hand in hand”. At age 11 his family emigrated to the united states and lived on a farm in Wisconsin where he gained experience working with animals.
As a young man he took an interest in mechanical inventing and made something called the “early rise machine”. He made money on his inventions and went to the university of Wisconsin where he studied Chemistry and Geology. He learned under Griswold the Botanist a professor and Increase Lapham who was one of the first conservationists.
After he graduated, John walked from Indianapolis to the gulf of mexico. On this journey he wrote in his journal which is titled “John Muir Earth-Planet Universe.”
After getting to the Gulf, He took a boat to San Francisco. He hated the city and instead of staying, he traveled east to Yosemite Valley. While at Yosemite, he theorized that the mountains were carved by glaciers based on the locations of the rocks. He wrote about his theory in multiple papers that were published all across the United States which acquired him a lot of notoriety.
In 1880 John married Louisa Wanda Strentzel and went back to Yosemite where he realised some of it had been destroyed by industrial interests. In 1890 he urged President Benjamin Harrison to make Yosemite Valley Protected land and lobbied for it in congress. John Muir believed that nature was not a resource to be exploited but a treasure that needs to be preserved. He knew that conservation would be a never ending uphill battle against corporate, industrial interests.
In 1892 he founded the Sierra Club in San Francisco which became one of the first reputable Conservationist groups in the Country. John was elected the first president with 182 members. Their first notable campaign was against a proposed reduction of the Yosemite protected lands which they won.
In 1903 Muir was visited by President Theodore Roosevelt in Yosemite where they camped in the first night on May 15th where Muir spoke to him about the importance of Preservation.
John Muir passed away in 1914 due to pneumonia and is still quoted today by the Scottish government as an inspiration in their fight against climate change and Conservation. He is the poster-boy for Preservationists