George might seem an unlikely name for a resource center, but Ralph Lutts, coordinator of the IMA Environmental Studies concentration chose this name in honor of George Perkins Marsh, a Renaissance Vermonter whose expansive energy, enthusiasm and intelligence brought him consideration as America’s first environmentalist. His landmark (literally!) book Man and Nature: or, Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action pointed to environmental devastation at the hands of humans.
According to the resource center Ralph named for him, and as printed on the Clark University site, “His biographer David Lowenthal referred to him as a ‘versatile Vermonter,’ alluding to his roots and his flexibility in his metiers. Throughout his 80 years Marsh had many careers as a lawyer (though, by his own words, ‘an indifferent practitioner’), newspaper editor, sheep farmer, mill owner, lecturer, politician and diplomat.” He also tried his hand at linguistics, various businesses (which he tended to fail miserably in), serving as the U.S. Minister to Turkey for five years, and later to the newly United Kingdom of Italy. But he’s best remembered for Man and Nature, a book that brought together observations from his years growing up in Vermont, travels in the Middle East and realization that humans were “disturbing agents” of environmental change.
Additionally, “The conventional idea held by geographers of the day, Arnold Guyot and Carl Ritter, was that the physical aspect of the earth was entirely the result of natural phenomena, mountains, rivers, oceans. No one had ever turned to the study of the earth as the home of humankind. Marsh was the first to describe the interdependence of environmental and social relationships.”
So visit George, where in addition to learning more about the site’s namesake, you can find resources for the environment in relation to education, agriculture, economics, indiginous studies, religion, wildlife, identity, anthropology, biography, organizations, regionalism, justice, terrorism, place and many related topics.