A Proponent of Activism
Henry David Thoreau, the 19th Century American writer, poet, and philosopher, is also considered one of the founding members of the US environmental movement. He wrote about the need to connect with nature and adhere to higher principals of justice and equality.
In so doing, Thoreau also advocated civil disobedience and activism. As he described, “Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.” This implies that to being good requires demonstration. We must channel the good into action.
Thoreau Puts Emphasis On The “Do”
According to Thoreau, if you consider yourself a moral and righteous individual, do so in your deeds. Your worth is reflected in how you treat your fellow humans as well as the environment.
Thoreau proposes that you hold yourself up to a higher standard than to mere labels or even legal compliance. Generous and well-intended words (whether from religious guidelines or governmental ones), can prove empty or wrong if not combined with moral action and principled ethics.
Rather, Thoreau encourages you to stand for what you believe in. Even if it’s difficult, or goes against the grain (see Saving Democracy). He champions the belief that you can determine for yourself what is right and wrong. Once you’ve figured that out, you should act upon that knowledge (see Oil and Honey).
Sharing the Resolve
Thoreau’s words are no less powerful today. During this time of accelerating climate change, Thoreau reminds us of the necessity to take up a position. As proponent of activism, Thoreau has written extensively about the subject and his words can serve as a sustainable source of inspiration for those considering their own role in society.
Thoreau’s assertions emphasize time and again that we are free to take action. To stand up for the people and nature. The environment is constantly under threat from industrial operations. If you care, speak up or speak out. Unfortunately, government decisions don’t necessarily reflect the genuine interest of those affected. Don’t be afraid to contact your representative and share your concern. You can make a difference!
If you’re interested in reading more about Henry David Thoreau, I’d recommend Walden & Civil Disobedience.