July 12 – Happy Birthday, Henry David Thoreau

Posted on July 12, 2015

I always think of this influential thinker as an author and philosopher, but Wikipedia also identifies Henry David Thoreau as a poet, surveyor, historian, naturalist, and activist – an abolitionist, tax resister, advocate of civil resistance, and critic of industrial and developmental “growth.”

He is best known for his book Walden, which makes a case for living simply and living in nature.

Thoreau has inspired some aspects of the modern environmental movement, which (among other things) seeks to limit “development” of wild places and natural resources.

This thinker and writer also inspired the thoughts and actions of some pretty important players in history all over the world, such as famed Russian author Leo Tolstoy, Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, and Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Thoreau's ideas of peaceful resistance to injustice helped Gandhi and King, in particular, create their nonviolent civil disobedience activism.

In honor of Thoreau, some people have dubbed today Simplicity Day. A man named Duane Elgin wrote a book in 1981, called Voluntary Simplicity, and he urges us all to live a life in balance:

  • Be aware of the environment, and your own impact on it.
  • Strive to use (and use up) less stuff – less gasoline, less electricity, less paper, etc. Strive to buy less stuff.
  • Strive for personal growth.
This is NOT a meme created by or about Henry David Thoreau!

Below ARE some memes created to spread Thoreau's ideas:

Also on this date:

Plan ahead:

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