Similarities of Denver, Thoreau
Dear Editor:Each year at this time folks gather here to celebrate the life of John Denver. Even though his music vibrates through Aspen during this gathering, it is also important to remember that Denver was an influential environmentalist.He championed and supported many environmental causes, such as The Nature Conservancy, the National Wildlife Foundation, Plant-It 2000, the Exxon Valdez cleanup, and preservation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, among many other efforts. He also founded this area’s own Windstar Foundation and Land Conservancy.History will remember Denver for his music, but it is also important for him to be recognized for his efforts to create a sustainable planet. A great percentage of his music reflects his deep appreciation of the natural world and actually informs others about environmental peril and what we can do to reverse it.John’s relationship with the natural world is very similar to another celebrated environmentalist, Henry David Thoreau. This autumn marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of “Walden,” one of Thoreau’s most celebrated writings.If one studies Thoreau and compares his writings to the lyrics of Denver’s songs, many similarities can be found. Both talk of the natural world in a spiritual sense, recognizing its value beyond shear commercial resources. Both find deep renewal in nature, and both warn of the encroaching loss of wilderness.Thoreau wasn’t fully recognized in his own time, but each passing year brings greater and greater appreciation for his words about the human relationship with nature. The same applies to Denver. As wildness becomes more abused and scarce, the words of Denver become even more valuable to heed.I hope 150 years from now we are still appreciating the words of John Denver in the same way people appreciate the words of Thoreau. J.P. McDanielLittleton
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