“He was, after all, an agriculturist by training and would spend the better part of his life thinking about how people ought to interact with the natural world, especially through agriculture.” -My Work is That of Conservation: An Environmental Biography of George Washington Carver.
George Washington Carver, most well-known for his work with the peanut, is also credited as being an important scientist associated within the early conservation movement. His love for the land and aspects of Southern environmental history is explored in Mark Hershey’s book, “My Work is That of Conservation: An Environmental Biography of George Washington Carver.”
The biography explores Carver’s education in regard to his environmental vision. Most interestingly, it talks about how Carver’s Midwest experiences were very different compared to those at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. His training collided with wasteful practices, deep poverty, and institutional racism of the Deep South. It was here that he was forced to adjust his conception of scientific agriculture, and as a result, cemented his position in progressive era agronomy. As a result, legacies like Carver, are actually “greener” than is often thought today.
We are thankful for pioneers like Carver who helped to protect and provide a great legacy for ourselves and our planet.