George Perkins Marsh: Anticipating the Anthropocene

19 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2019 Last revised: 16 Jan 2020

Date Written: November 8, 2019


This chapter, part of the forthcoming volume PIONEERS OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAW, explores the vision of humanity's influence on social-ecological systems that George Perkins Marsh provided to the world in his 1964 work, MAN AND NATURE, OR PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY AS MODIFIED BY HUMAN ACTION, republished in 1874 as THE EARTH AS MODIFIED THROUGH HUMAN ACTION. In addition to tracing how Marsh and these publications influenced nature resources and environmental law in the United States well into the 20th century, this chapter also argues that Marsh anticipated, in many respects, the environmental legal and policy issues of the Anthropocene by tracing clearly how human development can substantially alter ecological processes at a large geographic scale.

Keywords: George Perkins Marsh, Man and Nature, natural resource law, environmental law, Anthropocene, change, social-ecological systems

Suggested Citation

Craig, Robin Kundis, George Perkins Marsh: Anticipating the Anthropocene (November 8, 2019). University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 346, Available at SSRN: or

Robin Kundis Craig (Contact Author)

USC Gould School of Law ( email )

699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

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