The Public Broadcasting Service has much expanded the full-length video offerings on its web site. I was happy to see the American Masters documentary on John Muir is still available online even though it aired back in April.
John Muir, of course, was the 19th century naturalist, author and father of the conservation movement who tirelessly advocated for preservation of the Yosemite Valley and other wild areas of the Sierra Nevada. He played a central role in the development of the U.S. National Parks system.
John Muir in the New World examines the early life and experiences that shaped this icon of California history. The film paints an intimate portrait of the man with reenactments shot in some of the beautiful places that Muir traveled: Wisconsin, Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada, the Alhambra Valley of California, and the Alaskan glaciers.
Muir wrote prolifically on the need to preserve the natural world. You can get a sense of the power of his prose in an 1876 essay that appeared in the Sacramento Daily-Record Union. Here Muir argues for the conservation of the Sierra Nevada forests, explaining their essential role in the health of the overall ecosystem. (I found this piece by searching the California Digital Newspaper Collection.)
PHOTO CREDIT: Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir at Yosemite, circa 1906. Library of Congress.