A century after, the trailblazing conservationist John Muir observed, “.” Half a century before, Maya Angelou urged us in her to see that “we, this person, on this minuscule and with less globe” must correct our course before we destroy ourselves. Our kith-hitched globe, the ecologist and conservationist William Vogt (May 15, 1902–July 11, 1968), composed a masterwork of admonition and actionable vision that and encouraged the generation of pioneers who set it into motion.
During his long recovery from paralytic polio as a child,in love with the natural world, escaping his confinement through books about the wilderness and its wondrous creatures. A century before the Oxford Children’s Dictionary as irrelevant to the imagination and its prosthesis in language, the small bedridden boy grew especially enchanted by the feathered creatures of free flight he met on the page.
Literaturebegan a literary career in New York. But nature beckoned, the birds beckoned. At thirty, Vogt abruptly left the city for , traveling on a Peruvian commission to study bird populations on the Guano islands. In the three years he spent there, laboring in the salty air on the hot, barren rocks, he arrived at empirical proof of Muir’s insight in ocean currents diminished the population of plankton and anchovies, millions of birds fled the islands in search of food, leaving their defenseless chicks to die in “pitiful, collapsed, downy clumps” that broke his heart.
He saw in this heartbreak a miniature of the wholethe intricate interlacing of creaturely destinies on a planet of finite resources, growing populations, and infinite interconnectedness of needs.
Vogt spent thedeveloping these ideas by devouring countless books and scientific papers, talking with scientists and sea captains, farmers and diplomats, presidents and sheepherders in Patagonia, and engineers and trappers in Manitoba. In 1948 — the year the great nature writer Henry Beston cast his poetic hope that and that “perhaps, mighty as its enemies may be, allies will come who are even mightier” — Vogt distilled his learnings in ( ). many allies to stand for the Kingdom of Life.