Conservation

Humanitarianism is not merely an expression of sympathy with pain: it is a protest against all tyranny and desecration, whether such wrongs be done by the infliction of suffering on sentient beings, or by the vandalism which can ruthlessly destroy the natural grace of the earth. – Henry Salt

Salt constantly made excursions to the countryside and mountains and wrote accounts of his nature studies which he collected in two volumes, On Cumbrian and Cumbrian Hills: Pilgrimages to Snowdon and Scafell and The Call of the Wildflower.

In a chapter from On Cumbrian and Cumbrian Hills called “Slag-Heap or Sanctuary?” Salt turned to a savage denunciation of those who were despoiling the mountains with their tunnels and mine building, who were discolouring lakes with chemical wastes, poisoning the streams and the air, and killing or driving away wild animals.

Long before most conservationists were concerned, Salt had mounted a campaign to save the English countryside. His solution was to nationalise districts such as Snowdonia and to preserve them for the “use and enjoyment” of the people.

In The Call of the Wildflower Salt explains why his preference for the wild in nature was stronger than his regard for the domestic garden, Salt did not miss an opportunity to castigate those who destroyed wildflowers, both those who destroyed fields and meadows for profit as cities and factories encroached on the countryside.

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